Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Lucky Number 13?
2005-07-30 08:34
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Shawn Chacon gets the nod this afternoon on the FOX Game of the Week, becoming the thirteenth different starting pitcher the Yankees have used this season. Yesterday, Chris Karhl gave his take on the Chacon deal over at Baseball Prospectus (which is free-of-charge through August 3rd):

I know that I've been given to making historical comparisons in this space of late, but I see Chacon as being a less durable Mike Torrez: a wee bit uncomfortably wild, but good enough to keep you in ballgames. So I definitely like the decision to pick him up, having a perhaps unhealthy regard for a guy who's been a relatively decent starter in Coors Field. His elbow problems haven't been an issue of late, and eternal optimist that I can be, maybe working with Billy Connors this winter will clean up his mechanics. Will his strikeout rates go up now that he's come down from the High Plains? I think they will, and add in that Chacon has been able to keep people's hit rates under one per inning pitching in Denver, and I'm downright enthusiastic...

Now that he's in New York, with an offense that can drop the hammer on opposing moundsmen as well as the Yankees do, that can keep the Yankees thinking in terms of winning the division instead of wondering about the wild card. Add in that the cost was only a pair of live arms that, given this organization's predilections for the aged and infirm, weren't likely to get brought up, let alone used, and this was exactly what the doctor ordered.

While the Manny-to-the-Mets blockbuster appears to be dead, Yankee GM Brian Cashman is still working the phones in the hopes of pulling off another minor deal before the deadline tomorrow afternoon.

2005-07-30 08:46:57
1.   Dan-el
Minor deal #1: Yankees have reportedly signed Alan Embree.
2005-07-30 08:50:14
2.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I heard that was in the works. He was awful for the Sox this year, huh? But he couldn't be worse than Wayne Franklin, right?
2005-07-30 08:54:27
3.   Alex Belth
Here's the link to the Embree signing:
2005-07-30 08:58:40
4.   Dan-el
He was godawful in June -- something like a 13.00 ERA -- but decent in July before he was released. The timing of the release was a little surprising.

Also, from the Providence Journal:
"Curt Schilling got into a heated argument with Manny Ramirez on Wednesday after Ramirez refused to play on his promised off-day, even though the Sox were short a positional player because of Trot Nixon's injury."

David Ortiz had to separate them. HAHA.

Minor deal #2: The Yankees have acquired Joe Thurston from the Dodgers for a player to be named. Former can't-miss second base prospect, right?

2005-07-30 09:35:17
5.   Max
Personally, I hate the Embree deal...AFAIK the only thing he has over Franklin and other bullpen retreads is experience. The guy never impressed me even in his "prime", and he's lost a lot off his stuff since then.

He may provide one or two memorable moments, just as Ramiro did for the Sox, but I would be shocked if he didn't have the same case of gopher-itis at YS that Graman, Proctor, et al have currently.

2005-07-30 10:33:57
6.   ChrisS
What's with the Thurston deal? He's a 25 year old with 4 years in AAA, it's not like he's a single A kid or a journeyman destined to be a spare part.

Thurston this year:

.288BA 84G 257AB 32R 74H 10(2B) 2(3B) 6HR 35 RBI 106 TB 13BB 36K

2005-07-30 12:30:35
7.   rilkefan
Was the Giambi out at 2nd at least close? This is the second single he's run out recently.
2005-07-30 12:50:41
8.   KJC
Undercover spy Embree has done his job (must be karma for Mendoza).
2005-07-30 12:53:04
9.   Rich
Torre's idiocy was revealed in a nutshell in the 7th inning. He gives F-Rod one batter, who he walks, and then brings in Embree, who falls apart. Then he brings in Gordon, who he has already killed with overuse. Jerk.
2005-07-30 12:56:47
10.   Max
I wish I had been wrong about Embree...unbelievable that they start having him do the damage so quickly.

And for all the Torre-bashers, I'd love to see someone spell out what options he has. Most starters not named Kevin Brown are doing their job, and the bullpen keeps throwing it away in the seventh and eighth innings, no matter who's in there (outside of Mo).

2005-07-30 12:58:27
11.   Rich
Leave F-Rod in. That was the best option.

Bash must mean defining reality accurately.

2005-07-30 12:59:42
12.   Max
Oops, I was too late...the rich-bot has already struck, with criticism of Torre that's breathtaking in its pretzel logic. Let's absolve the FO,'s not their fault that scraps keep getting swept into the Yankee bullpen.
2005-07-30 13:02:30
13.   Rich
That's right Max, drink the Torre Kool-Aid that comes free with a $200 million payroll.
2005-07-30 13:04:37
14.   JeremyM
I agree with Rich, leave F-Rod in. This fascination with experimenting with left-handers in tight games constantly is mind blowing. Especially since Felix has great numbers against lefties.
2005-07-30 13:06:40
15.   JeremyM
Don't get me wrong, Torre's not working with the best options, but there's 25 or so managers that would love to have this team. Anyway, at least it looks like Chacon pitched well, too bad he won't get the decision.
2005-07-30 13:08:22
16.   Max
No Rich, I didn't actually like what Torre did today.

But it's an automatic that NO matter what happens, win or loss, short of a complete game or starter to Mo situation, you will either complain about "overuse" of the best arms or not using them in the right situations. It must be wonderful never being wrong when there are so many opportunities to second guess what has or hasn't been done.

That is the only reality that is clear...that you will manipulate the facts to support your jihad against Torre. I could care less about him being criticized, I just like to see some actual plausible logic behind the criticism now and then.

2005-07-30 13:12:47
17.   JeremyM
Gee, maybe there's a reason people have whined about the overuse of Gordon, he's getting shelled. I'm so sick of playing the freaking Angels, these guys straight up own us.
2005-07-30 13:15:49
18.   Rich
Max, I don't need to manipulate anything to describe Torre's inability to handle a bullpen. Granted, the FO has misspent $200 million as badly as anyone can, but how many times has Torre used Gordon with 3 or more run leads?

F-Rod has pitched well lately, he is effective against LH hitters, and if Torre would show him a little patience and confidence, he might develop as an effective option.

Instead, he brought in Embree and his 7+ ERA, because to him, handedness trumps ability.

2005-07-30 13:19:29
19.   rilkefan
Note that F-Rod walked the leadoff guy and Embree got a ground ball. And if Embree has to pitch sometime, might as well be against the bottom of the order with a lead.
2005-07-30 13:19:36
20.   rbj
You've got only a 2 run lead, bring a pitcher and he promptly walks the lead off batter. Unless it's Mo, I'm taking the guy out. We needed the win today, it's not a time for experimenting with a guy who hasn't gotten it done yet today.
2005-07-30 13:24:57
21.   Rich
The problem with taking F-Rod out after a lead off walk is that the available options to replace him are worse. Embree is a bad option. Sturtze and Gordon are over worked. So it's fine to say pull F-Rod, but when the alternatives are terrible, it makes no sense.
2005-07-30 13:32:31
22.   Rich
When Giambi plays 1B he hits.
2005-07-30 13:36:20
23.   aboveavg
Embree did not pitch poorly. He gave up a bloop and a bunt. Blame him for throwing the ball into the stands.
2005-07-30 13:38:56
24.   Rich
It's about getting the job done. Embree didn't do it, and his track record this season gave no indication that he would.
2005-07-30 13:43:32
25.   Rich
Opening Day-Gordon pitched the 9th up 9-1
April 24-Gordon pitched the 9th up 11-1
May 11-Gordon pitched the 9th up 13-9
May 13-Gordon pitched the 8th up 6-2
June 11-Gordon pitched 2/3 of an inning up 4-0
June 21-Gordon pitched the 9th up 20-11
July 7-Gordon pitched 2/3 of an inning up 7-2
July 20-Gordon pitched 1.1 innings up 7-3
July 26-Gordon pitched the 9th up 4-0
2005-07-30 13:43:44
26.   alasky
two things with embree: small sample size this season, let's not all of a sudden consider him a 7 era guy with a pretty decent rack record the last few seasons...clearly a better option than buddy groom or wayne franlin...secondly, in terms of not getting the job done, I guess I can't really argue that point, but as a general rule, if he makes those pitches he'll be alright. The single was such an incredible bloop, I can't do it justice, hit very, very weakly. The error, blame him, sure, but I'd describe that more as an isolated incident than a trend. All I'm saying is let's give the guy a shot.
2005-07-30 13:45:34
27.   alasky
ps...I really, really agree about the bullpen misuse
2005-07-30 13:45:52
28.   Rich
Embree could help, but I didn't want him broken in in a tight game. Let him gain his confidence slowly. Oh well.
2005-07-30 13:45:53
29.   alasky
as a general rule, not necessarily terrible today
2005-07-30 13:47:08
30.   rbj
Felix didn't get the job done today either. Do not walk the leadoff guy. Throw a strike on 3-2.

I think even the retread starters are going to have to go 8 innings for a while.

2005-07-30 13:51:58
31.   Marcus
Speaking of overuse, K-Rod looks a little wild today.
2005-07-30 13:59:27
32.   rbj
We need a laser shot, Sheff.
2005-07-30 14:08:14
33.   Rich
2005-07-30 14:08:26
34.   Murray
Yipee! That was fun.
2005-07-30 14:09:26
35.   Marcus
GODZILLA!!!!!!! Victory tastes so sweet against the Angels, especially with K-Rod blowing it.
2005-07-30 14:09:33
36.   JVarghese81
Holy crap - that was an exciting game - thank god they won that one. Whoo...
2005-07-30 14:09:34
37.   rilkefan
Wow. Nice win for Mo.
2005-07-30 14:09:38
38.   rbj
Suweeeet. And Frankie's thrown too much to pitch tomorrow.
2005-07-30 14:34:01
39.   Rich
In addition to Mat's obvious "clutchness," Giambi really deserves props for that HR. It put them back in the game.
2005-07-30 14:40:41
40.   jkay
Franklin put out the fire!!
2005-07-30 14:55:52
41.   Paul in Boston
Theory about Embree (and I emphasize it's pure speculation): steroids.

Remember in 2002 when the Yankees played the Padres, and suddenly this guy with a mediocre career comes into a game and he is throwing 95+ and striking out everyone? Where did he come from? Then the Sox pick him up, and he remains overpowering. And I always thought his head had that funny swollen look ...

Again, this is speculation only, what do I know.

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