Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Rockin' Rumor
2005-07-21 10:12
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

According to Bob Klapisch, George Steinbrenner is interested in bringing the legendary Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone to the Bronx next season.

Comments (59)
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2005-07-21 10:22:43
1.   Cliff Corcoran
Of course George is interested in Mazzone, who wouldn't be? But does anyone really think the Braves are going to let him out of his contract? I'm also dubious about the claim that Mazzone has told this gossipy friend that he'd join the Yankees "'in a minute' for the right offer." Money talks, but I don't see Mazzone walking on Bobby Cox and their still active streak of Division Championships in Atlanta.
2005-07-21 10:26:53
2.   Knuckles
I'm interested in banging Scarlet Johannsen, but that doesn't mean it might happen.
2005-07-21 10:43:06
3.   Schteeve
If Leo has any pop on his fastball let's get him in the rotation right now.
2005-07-21 10:49:15
4.   Shaun P
How much longer are Mazzone and Cox under contract for? There are two scenarios in which I could imagine Mazzone leaving Atlanta to come to NY (both would involve oodles of George's money, of course):

1. Cox decides to retire after the Braves win it all/come close (yet again).

2. Mazzone is tired of Atlanta and wants a change of scenary, but to a place with a team that he knows will keep on winning (or die trying, dammit).

Honestly, what's keeping him in Atlanta after all these years? (Besides his contract and loyalty to Cox.) Smoltz is the only pitcher who's been with the Braves for more than the last 3 years - so its probably not the players. As for the "streak" (cough, 1994, cough), its going to end sometime, maybe even this year. From Mazzone's perspective, it might be better to get out while the streak is alive than after its dead.

And never underestimate the desire of someone who's very, very good - like Mazzone - to want a new challenge, mostly to prove they really ARE that good. Right now, whenever someone mentions how good Mazzone is, they usually mention Cox and sometimes Schuerholtz too. Maybe Mazzone wants to show he can do it without those guys.

Not that he needs to - based on his current resume, he should be the first pitching coach elected to the Hall of Fame, IMHO.

2005-07-21 11:58:19
5.   JohnnyC
Considering how difficult it is to: a) develop pitching from within because of early injuries and shaky minor league coaching or b)get your money's worth in the free agent market (even the Unit has been disappointing so far), it's interesting that Joe Kerrigan and possibly Leo Mazzone are being considered to usurp Mel's throne. Both are very good pitching coaches precisely because they've managed to succeed with reclamation projects, saving their franchises millions in wasted dollars. Safe to say, George and most Yankees fans are tired of getting a 50% return on the free agent dollars we shelled out for allegedly top shelf pitchers. Maybe a Kerrigan or a Mazzone could have made league-average pitchers out of such flotsam as Darrell May, Aaron Small, and Wayne Franklin. Look at Sturtze and what the combination of spending time in the Dodgers system and home tutoring from Mo accomplished.
2005-07-21 12:12:45
6.   Nick from Washington Heights
So, why exactly doesn't Mel get a little credit for Sturtze's improvement? Shouldn't there be a rule that if we are to blame Mel for Pavano and Vazquez and whoever else, that we should credit him for success stories?
2005-07-21 12:25:10
7.   DaveinMD
Rivera gets credit for Sturtze. He taught him the cutter and told him to throw strikes and fastballs. Mel tells people to throw less fastballs.
2005-07-21 12:44:59
8.   JohnnyC
What success stories? Andy Pettitte went away from the change-up that he used when he came up in 1995 (before Mel), threw too many cutters which altered his wind-up, and was a phone call away from being traded in late 1999...until his dad, watching video of his son, identified the flaw in Andy's delivery which was causing him to lose velocity and location. Mr. Pettitte gets the credit there. You'd be hard-pressed to name a single pitcher from 1996 through 2005 who pitched better under Mel's tutelage rather than worse. And you can name at least a dozen who have pitched markedly better out from under his shadow. Which doesn't make Mel a bad guy. Just not a good pitching coach.
2005-07-21 12:54:48
9.   Dan M
And, reportedly, Sheffield saw something wrong in Leiter's delivery while watching him pitch for the Marlins on tv, and told Leiter before Sunday's game. What's next? Sojo solving Brown's first inning woes?
2005-07-21 13:10:12
10.   Dave D
anyone see Quantrill's line against the Mets today? Gross. Some things never change. I have to admit taking a little solace in this, it sucks when a pitcher leaves and gets better. Like Javy.
2005-07-21 13:35:26
11.   ChuckM
Lets not get crazy here. Javy has been up and down all season, only showing glimpses of what he did in Montreal while also reverting back to his 2nd half NY form on occasion. While looking at Mazzone, I'm not saying he isn't a great pitching coach, but he built his rep on guys like Maddux and Smoltz, so when they are able to rescue a pitcher off the scrap heap, he gets the credit. He does however, seem to avoid a lot of the blame when things go wrong (I'm looking at you Danny Kolb). Instead of Mazzone being at fault, it becomes, "wow, he must really be bad if Mazzone couldn't get anything out of him."
2005-07-21 13:49:17
12.   greatteammate
Only slightly apropos, can anyone tell me who the probable starters are for the entire upcoming Angels series, for both clubs? Tonight I know it's R. Johnson v. B. Colon, but how about Friday, Saturday, Sunday?
2005-07-21 13:56:23
13.   rbj
Friday we've got baling wire, Saturday it's chewing gum. Sunday it's back to Moose.
I've been in San Antonio the last few days, any word on Chein-Ming? Is he going to have surgery and be able to report in February?
2005-07-21 14:02:14
14.   Marcus
The upcoming starters are listed on the sidebar to the right up near the top. Looks like Lieter then Brown then Moose.
2005-07-21 14:05:32
15.   Dave D
Well I have to like Mazzone's approach. That is, change speeds. Kitty has pointed out this difference between Mel's philosophy on more than one occasion on YES.
2005-07-21 14:17:20
16.   ChuckM
I never said he was a bad pitching coach. I just think that he would probably not be able to avoid blame for the pitchers who didn't work out had he been in the media fishbowl of NY as opposed to Atlanta
2005-07-21 17:41:21
17.   markp
From telling Gooden he needed to cut down on his Ks to the present, Mel has been awful wherever he's gone. I'm no big fan of Uncle Stupid, but Kaat's comments on pitching (especially pitching theory and training) is in stark contrast to the stuff Mel and Joe are teaching and Kaat learned from some of the best in history (like Sain, who may be the best pitching coach before Duncan and Mazzone.)
2005-07-21 18:47:53
18.   mikeplugh
As good as he is, I don't think I could take a full season of watching Mazzone rock back and forth in the Yankee dugout.

Seriously though, it's not even worth speculating on. Torre and Mel are with us until they decide they don't want to be. Mel may bow to pressure and opt out after this year, but there's no way anyone has insight on any potential replacements.

On Kaat....I think he's super bright. I completely agree with his repeated stance on pitch counts and I think baseball would be far better if it nurtured young pitchers to throw 130 pitches on a regular basis.

It doesn't mean that you have to push them that far on a start by start basis, but they'd be more able to go deeper into games and you wouldn't have to quake in your boots about cast off middle relievers every other game.

Likewise, 4 days rest seems to be a good way to go with pitchers. You can keep 5 starters, but one of them should be a guy who does long relief and gets the occasional spot start. In the past, when guys used to actually win 20 games, 4 days rest sufficed. I know there's a philosophy between teams, agents, and players where long outings and less rest means shorter careers and less overall money in the span of your playing days. I think it's overstated.

2005-07-21 18:52:11
19.   JeremyM
mikeplugh, I think you mean 3 days rest in a 4-man rotation, but your point is well-taken:) I agree on the 130-pitch count to a degree, the middle reliever crap gets old.
2005-07-21 19:13:28
20.   Marcus
A-Rod OWNS Colon. There's the solo shot he needed for the homer cycle last time.
2005-07-21 19:15:55
21.   JeremyM
Has anyone ever owned a pitcher more? Seriously, this is great!
2005-07-21 19:20:00
22.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
What is that? 7 homers in 41 at-bats?
2005-07-21 19:20:51
23.   Nick from Washington Heights
I'm by no means a Mel defender but the argument on this site against him can be so one-sided it's ridiculous. Whenever a pitcher sucks it up, people point to some technical advice Mel gave the pitcher and whenever a pitcher does well there's always some magical anecdotal tale about a father intervening or Gary Sheffield giving AL Leiter some life-changing advice. It's possible that Mel actually has helped a couple of his pitchers, and that would by no means weaken the argument of the camp against Mel, but it's odd so many smart people using anecdotal evidence to strengthen an already strong argument.
2005-07-21 19:28:29
24.   mikeplugh
I won't knock Mel. I don't think he's a top guy, but he's solid. I have an objection to most pitching coaches out there and the molly-coddling they do with their staff....

I really just wanted an excuse to type "molly-coddling".

2005-07-21 20:05:40
25.   Marcus
How many home runs has Giambi hit in July? 10? 11?

Meanwhile, Schilling blows another save.

2005-07-21 20:56:07
26.   rilkefan
With tonight's two homers, Giambi is at ten for the month of July. That's 10 hr/49 ab - he's hitting 0.204 in homers.

Schilling does pick up the win though.

2005-07-21 21:05:54
27.   singledd
What Giambi is doing now is bordering on the rediculous. It does show however, how much mental attitude has to do with performance.
His OPS (after his 4th HR in 2 days) is now at .970, second on the team behind ARod at 1.00+ and Shef at .937.

Considering a brutal year of health problems and the horrific Steroids issue, his comeback is quite stunning. Maybe it won't last, but what he has accomplished is a real tribute to his determination and ability.

P.S. I guess 2 runs in 6 innings is considered good these days, but I am still disappointed in RJ.

2005-07-21 21:08:50
28.   Marcus
In light of the bases loaded, no outs situation Proctor and Groom have landed the Yankees in, why was Johnson taken out after only 89 pitches?
2005-07-21 21:10:17
29.   mikeplugh
Johnson must have tweaked his back. Better to be cautious at this point.

At least he has Gordon in now.....we need to win this one.

2005-07-21 21:10:18
30.   mikeplugh
Johnson must have tweaked his back. Better to be cautious at this point.

At least he has Gordon in now.....we need to win this one.

2005-07-21 21:11:23
31.   mikeplugh
Yankees suck shit. Thanks Joe.
2005-07-21 21:12:08
32.   Marcus
That sure wasn't the preferred result...
2005-07-21 21:12:50
33.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Thanks Groom and Proctor.
2005-07-21 21:13:00
34.   mikeplugh
Joe Torre is a thick-headed moron. I've come around. Fire his ass.....
2005-07-21 21:13:35
35.   JeremyM
Geez, he picks Proctor over Felix Rodriguez? Proctor has absolutely nothing besides a straight fastball and the pitching IQ of a stuffed chimpanzee.
2005-07-21 21:13:55
36.   mikeplugh
What hasn't Joe seen with the bullpen scrubs that all the rest of us have seen all year? What drug is he on....get me some of it.
2005-07-21 21:14:48
37.   JeremyM
Let me ready the quote: "Groom pitched well, other than one bad pitch..."

Actually, I was the one saying he should've went instead of Franklin the other night.

2005-07-21 21:14:58
38.   mikeplugh
This is a f^876ing joke.
2005-07-21 21:16:01
39.   mikeplugh
Can we get a few more runs on their bullpen and save Torre's ass?
2005-07-21 21:24:39
40.   mikeplugh
How is it that the $200+ million Yankees have a bunch of loser AAA guys and 98 year old Buddy Groom as their middle relievers?

Can't we trade Womack and a prospect for a top guy? Just one freakin' guy who can pitch 3 innings of lights out baseball. Imagine how many games that would be worth to us at this point. We would have won the middle game in Texas and the game tonight. How many others would we have won this year?

If you don't have the guys in the starting rotation to give you a solid 7 innings avery night, you need scary mother fudgers coming out of the pen.....

2005-07-21 21:27:56
41.   Rich
Proctor started the 7th over F-Rod because...
2005-07-21 21:33:15
42.   Cliff Corcoran
I have no problem with Torre going to Proctor there, in fact, it's the sort of move I've been calling for Torre to make, with a multi-run lead, give the young guys a chance to hold it and rest the overworked studs. My question is, why not give Proctor a second batter? Worst he could do is leave with a one-run lead, and you might luck out and and have him settle down and retire the side. It was a full-count walk after all (here I must confess that I was away from the TV there, maybe it was worst than it looked in the box score?).
2005-07-21 21:42:54
43.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Surprised they're pitching to Giambi.
2005-07-21 21:45:44
44.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
I guess that's why. What do I know.
2005-07-21 21:56:34
45.   JohnnyC
No use trying to figure out Torre's moves. I think it's clear he just panics. There's no rhyme or reason to his use of the pen now.
2005-07-21 21:58:35
46.   singledd
I don't know how you can blame Torre when a relief pitcher walks the first guy he faces and a usually steady Gordon gives up a HR. IF Torre himself were allowed to pitch, he would probably give it a try.

And Womack (the worst player in MLB) and an average prospect for a stud pitcher? Gee.. I bet there's a line waiting for that.

A frustrating loss. We need RJ and Moose to go more then 6. I guess ARod was right about needing 6 runs (or more).

2005-07-21 22:00:13
47.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Tonight was a sensible use of the pen. Johnson had a bad 6th. He has to see if any of the scrubs are at all usefull. He had 3 run lead. The bottom of the lineup was due. He figured if Proctor and Groom screw up then he'd bring in Gordon.

Gordon gave up a granny. It sucks. We blew our lead, and even worse the Red Sox came back to win their game.

2005-07-21 22:11:43
48.   Rich
With Torre's admitted fixation on experience, I don't see how F-Rod isn't a better option than Proctor, who has never learned to command his pitches.

Once Gordon is up, why not put him in the game before the bases are loaded?

2005-07-21 22:15:50
49.   Chucksax
The worst thing about the night is the fact that I stayed up until 1AM & have to go to work early tomorrow. Torre's use of the 'pen was EXACTLY what I've been hoping all year - bring in a young kid with a large lead and give them a chance. I agree with the idea that Torre panicked after Proctor walked the first guy, but this is the sort of thing I have been wanting him to do - give Proctor a chance.

My only question is, does this mean that Proctor will now be COMPLETELY buried?

2005-07-21 23:06:42
50.   uburoisc
Proctor walked DaVanon at the bottom of the order; you cannot walk the bottom and put men on base, especially not a .250 hitter with no power. Make him hit it. How hard is that? Ohhh, those walks.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-07-22 00:51:12
51.   mikeplugh
What are you guys talking about? That's how you wanted Torre to use the bullpen all year? Are you serious?

1. The Yankees did NOT have a large lead. The game was a 3 run lead, which counts as a save situation.

2. This is the 1st game of a 4 game series with Randy Johnson on the mound against Bartolo Colon. THIS was the game to go Sturtze, Gordon, Rivera. You have plenty of opportunity in Leiter or Brown's starts to use Proctor, Rodriguez, Groom, and Graman.

3. If you care enough to use Gordon with the bases loaded and Vlad Guerrero at the plate, why not give him the inning to start, or bring him in before the go ahead comes to the plate in the form of last season's MVP?

I suppose the real question is what I asked earlier. Why does a $200+ million team have a bunch of worthless AAA guys and a 90 year old Buddy Groom spotting middle relief? With shaky starting pitching that hasn't showed all year that it can last through 7 innings, why don't we have a guy like the old Ramiro Mendoza on the roster? Can't we find a guy who will pitch 3 innings of turbo strikes? Even if he gets hit, he'd be glaring down batters and pumping heat in the strike zone with an occasional change thrown in for good measure.....

2005-07-22 04:08:30
52.   bp1

Even if we did have a stud who will pitch 3 good innings in relief, he can't go out there every night, just like TanGorMo can't go out there every night. There are gonna be nights when Torre has to try to piece together a win with his secondary relief crew, and some nights are going to wind up like last night. Gordon gave up the slam, so it's not like Joe left in the scrub to lose the game. This was our #2 guy. Sh*t happens, sometimes out of Joe's control. That's baseball.

Another frustrating loss. Let's hope we can bounce back like we did aainst Boston and Texas with a win tonight.


2005-07-22 04:48:46
53.   mikeplugh

I understand your point about our top guys inability to pitch every night, but I think you are missing the crux of my criticism.

I have stated my objection to Torre's strategy in the 2nd Texas game and last night, because they are the all important Randy Johnson/Mussina nights. You are virtually guaranteed a couple of shaky performances in the Kevin Brown and mystery starter games, and as such you can afford to gamble a bit with unproven middle relief.

When our top pitchers are on the mound we have to win. Period. Look what has happened as a result to Torre's middle relied choices. We lost 2 games in the standings. The other games, when he opted to use the top 3 we won by more than 3 runs. Aaron Small's game was a 4 run affair where we hit 6 home runs.

In a few weeks, and maybe after a trade, we can reevaluate the situation. For now, we have fought too hard to be back near 1st place to lose games for RJ and Mussina.

2005-07-22 04:54:00
54.   mikeplugh
Also, remember that while Gordon gave up the Grand Slam, he was put in an impossible position.

Bases loaded, less than 2 outs, the fans in a froth, and the MVP of the 2004 season at the plate. Perhaps the most dangerous player in baseball not named Bonds (or maybe Pujols).

This is a guy who could hit a frozen, rolling baseball, covered in motor oil, out of the old Yankee Stadium to straight away center. At that point it's over.

2005-07-22 05:42:26
55.   JeremyM
I'm trying to figure out what you guys have possibly seen in Proctor. All I've seen is a guy who thinks he can pump his very straight fastball past major leaguers with no regard to it's location and no breaking stuff to speak of. He's the 11th pitcher on a team, someone to mop up, not enter a game against the Angels with only a 3-run lead. Felix was the choice last night since Sturtze was probably spent and Gordon was being saved for the 8th. Felix has had a proven track record of success, so why not see how he fits with the team and give him a shot?

On the bright side, Giambi continues to scorch and A-Rod owns Colon again.

2005-07-22 05:43:46
56.   bp1

I agree with your points about needing to win Johnson's and Musina's starts. Part of the problem is that both left after six innings. Our bullpen needs a break, or no manager on the planet will be able to get much out of it. The way RJ was cruising last night, I was sitting on the couch thinking "good - we'll get a complete game tonight and give the guys in the pen a break.". That was wishfull thinking, as it turned out (sigh).

Sure, bases loaded and one out with Vlad at the plate is just about as bad as it gets, but Vlad has been on a 4-for-40-something slide coming to that at bat. Either he was due, or he was struggling.

Now we know. He was due. That was really the only hard hit ball of the inning. Geez.



2005-07-22 05:56:25
57.   Rich
I gave Torre the benefit of the doubt that Sturtze couldn't go. He has been overused.

If so, F-Rod is the next best option.

Graman is supposed to be the new three inning guy.

2005-07-22 07:45:08
58.   Simone
When Joe brought in Gordon, I thought of the comments from the game a couple days ago. When Gordon gave up the grand slam, I had to appreciate the baseball gods sense of humor.
2005-07-22 14:57:44
59.   Rich
The joke is on the Torre defenders. Torre refused to use Gordon with a one run lead in Tuesday's loss, but in Wednesday's win he used Gordon with a four run lead.

That is called poor bullpen management, which is the hallmark of Torre's career.

Is it any wonder he was tired last night?

If he was going to be used, it should have been before the bases became loaded.

The irony of your comment is overwhelming.

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