Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Here We Go
2006-08-07 05:04
by Alex Belth

The Yankees bounced-back from Saturday's loss and beat the Orioles 6-1 on the strength of Jaret Wright's performance and four solo home runs (Jeter, Johnny, Melky, and G'Bombee). Bobby Abreu went 3-4 with two stolen bases and the Yanks' now lead Boston by two games in the American League East. It is a good way to enter perhaps the toughest challenge of the year: twenty-one games in twenty days. This stretch includes three games against the White Sox, seven against the Angels, and five v. the Red Sox. New York's next off-day falls on August 28th, and then they play three against the Tigers followed by three v. the Twins.

The September schedule is far more favorable. The rest of the league must to put the Bombers down during the next three weeks, because if our guys make it through the rain (so to speak) in good shape, they will be tough, tough, tough.

Catchin' Up

I was away for the weekend. Here's some links for your face:

The New York Times has a profile of the Twin's terrific young pitcher, Francisco Liriano today. My latest piece for SI is about pitching phenoms. Liriano and Justin Verlander each missed their last starts, which brings me to my biggest concern for the next two months: Will Chien-Ming Wang hold together? Last year, he threw 116 innings; he's already up to 156 this season. Is this something to get crazy about, or am I just looking to be neurotic?

According to Joel Sherman in Sunday's New York Post, the Yankees are seriously considering picking-up Gary Sheffield's $13 million option only to trade him.

Bubba Crosby was designated for assignment on Friday night and was understandably upset. ("Well, F this F'in game.") Relief pitcher, Jose Veras took Bubba's place on the roster.

Bobby Abreu credits Yankee hitting coach Don Mattingly for his early success with the Yanks. One thing that I have noticed about Abreu, however, is that he's exceedingly tentative going back on fly balls in right field. He may have a strong arm but he doesn't look comfortable at all with the leather.

Here's a good piece of news: Robinson Cano will be activated tomorrow and rejoin the team. Miguel Cairo will be placed on the DL, after pulling a hamstring over the weekend. I don't figure we'll see him again until September. Meanwhile, we just might catch of glimpse of the $40 million man, Carl Pavano, on the field before 2006 is all said and done.

Finally, better late than never, here is Christina Kahrl's take on the Craig Wilson deal:

I really like the idea of getting Wilson--and getting him at this price, instead of waiting to let Chacon leave as a free agent--and thereby adding a right-handed power bat who can take over at first base and let Jason Giambi DH. Wilson helps balance out getting Bobby Abreu and eventually both Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano back. When that happens, we're back to the days where not even getting down to the Yankees' nine-hole hitter makes life any easier on a pitcher. I've already said I think the Yankees can win the division now, and this only makes that look even more likely.

Unfortunately, there is the one little problem, which was keeping the now-purposeless Andy Phillips instead of Guiel. You play in Yankee Stadium, and Matsui isn't back yet--this is the team where you do want to have somebody on the bench who can park something in the right field porch. I admit, Guiel's probably the first choice to go down once Matsui returns, but that hasn't happened yet. Now that Wilson is here, what is Phillips for? Being a better first baseman than Giambi is no longer a unique skill on the roster, and that's really the only position that Phillips can play, and he isn't even any good at it. Hitting? Again, being good enough to pinch-hit for Miguel Cairo or Bubba Crosby, but maybe no Sal Fasano, is not a player you make a point of keeping. Guiel shouldn't just be on this team now, he's somebody you want on your playoff roster, certainly instead of Nick Green. Dumping him now on something like the principle of "last hired, first fired," is just sloppy roster management. This stuff has cost the Yankees in postseasons past, so it's a bit annoying if you think they're supposed to have learned something from those years they dragged Enrique Wilson along with them as some sort of unlucky charm.

Her pal, Steven Goldman thinks this is one of the most successful deadline periods in Yankee history.

Lot's to gab about. The floor is open...

Comments (102)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-08-07 06:15:25
1.   Dimelo
Alex - given that your titles usually have something to do with old school hip-hop (usually) then I couldn't help but think of The Tribe:

Here we go yo, here we go yo
So what so what so what's the scenario
Here we go yo, here we go yo
So what so what so what's the scenario


I definitely agree that if the Yanks can make it out of this tough stretch then they will be tough to deal with.

2006-08-07 06:24:57
2.   vockins
Regarding the Millar fly foul mentioned in the Post, yes, Abreu backed off, but he was running at a steel garage door. He does seem a little tenative, though.
2006-08-07 06:42:53
3.   Alex Belth
Actually, I wasn't thinking of one play specifically, re: Abreu. I watched him closely last Wednesday when I was at the park, and then kept an eye on it over what I caught during the weekend...

..."Hey yo, Bo knows this, and Bo knows that..."

By the way, I was chatting with Will Carroll this morning and he won't start getting concerned with Wang until he reaches about 180 innings...

2006-08-07 06:56:51
4.   rsmith51
Probably won't happen, but it would be nice if the Yanks had September to coast and rest their players.
2006-08-07 07:00:49
5.   Dimelo
Given Wang's age of 26, is the only reason it is a concern is because Wang has never pitched that many innings in his professional career before?

I don't get the innings thing. I remember Cliff mentioned Javy Vazquez some time ago and him having pitched over 200+ innings twice before the age of 25 was not a good thing. However, here is the converse...someone who hasn't pitched that many innings before the age of 25 but it's a problem. Shouldn't the same be true for Josh Beckett too? He's also had arm problems before. I thought if they hadn't had a lot of stress in their arm beforehand then that's a good thing.

2006-08-07 07:40:03
6.   rsmith51
Does anyone know of a place where we can see who cleared waivers and who didn't?
2006-08-07 07:40:57
7.   Cliff Corcoran
The issue, Dimelo, is that pitchers need to increase their innings pitched totals gradually. Think of them like long distance runners. You're not going to make it through a marathon if all you've ever run before is a 10K, or, if you do make it through you're likely going to be pretty messed up and not be able to do anything else for a while.

High school and college seasons are short, then comes short-season A-ball. It takes a few years of gradual increases to get up to 200 IP. The right way to do it is what the Yanks are doing with Phil Hughes. Gradually increase their IP totals year to year so that by the time they're Wang's age 200 innings is not a big deal, but it's not an overly familiar total either.

The issue with Chien-Ming is that injuries interupted that progress in the minors and kept him from making a normal increase last year, so this year he's going to be asked to make a big leap and that's dangerous, even more so given his history of shoulder problems. For that reason, the Yanks might want to keep him on a strict pitch count going forward. He's so efficient he frequently gets through 7 or 8 innings on less than 100 pitches. I'd be happy if they kept him from hitting triple digits until the postseason.

2006-08-07 07:41:23
8.   Cliff Corcoran
6 No, that information is not public.
2006-08-07 07:43:28
9.   pistolpete
Dare to dream that if we get Pavano back for any length of time, we could possibly go to a 6-man rotation, or have him do spot starts to give individual guys an extra day off?
2006-08-07 07:44:38
10.   mickey1956
5 Wang's workload this year is probably a risk, but what other choice does this team have. Even if his workload is limited the rest of the year he is going to blow by his innings pitched level from the past couple of years. I think I remember from reading Will Carrol that it tends to affect the pitcher the most the next year. We'll see. Wang is such an outlier in his performance I'm hoping he holds up.
2006-08-07 07:49:44
11.   Dimelo
7 I understand that gradually you want to increase the pitcher's innings but at some point you just let it fly. Especially if you are Wang's age. I understand that babying Hughes is required because he's only 20. But for pitchers like Wang and Beckett, the Red Sox and Yanks don't have that luxary.

We can put Beckett in Wang's category, correct Cliff? The Red Sox should be just as concerned.
As should the Tigers with Verlander, since he's on pace to get 197 inninigs pitched then you have to factor in the post-season too.

I don't even want to think of Wang not being part of the Yankees rotation....I just can't fathom that loss. I can't even believed I just typed that.

2006-08-07 07:53:37
12.   Cliff Corcoran
10 I was just thinking this morning about next year's team, and starting pitching will have to be Cashman's priority. Given Wang's innings, Moose's age and option, and Johnson's performance this year, there are really no sure things for next year's rotation.
2006-08-07 07:55:12
13.   unpopster
"Scenario" is by far one of the all time best All-Star rapper songs, but it still pales in comparison to "The Symphony No. 1"...
2006-08-07 07:59:21
14.   mickey1956
12 I've watched Matt Cain pitch yesterday, and I have to think that Hughes can have that type of impact next year. I know he is a year and a half younger than Cain, but with his control he might be the 2nd best pitcher on the Yankees next year.
2006-08-07 07:59:57
15.   Dimelo
13 I don't know....I've got to go with "Eric B. is President" as one that beats out Marley Marl's classic. It's all relative though. They are both great. I loved Rakim, I thought he was ahead of his time. As was Kane.
2006-08-07 08:02:49
16.   bp1
12 Cliff, I'm with you on Moose and Johnson, but you've lost me on Wang.

There are never sure things in pitching, as we've all learned over and over, but you're saying that Wang's innings this year will give Cashman enough uncertainty that he needs to make more moves in the off season?

Isn't the general consensus that Wang is one of the top pitchers in the league now? You're saying we cannot expect solid performance from him next year, and that Cashman needs to shore up the rotation in case Wang crashes and burns? That's what it sounds like you are saying - that '06 innings are going to add uncertainty to '07 performance.

Or am I reading you wrong?

2006-08-07 08:08:39
17.   Alex Belth
"Symphony" is different from "Eric B" in that it is a posse cut, of course. Quick trivia: what is the order of rappers in "The Symphony"? "Scenerio" is great--the remix was pretty dope too. I think what makes it stand out is Busta's final verse.

But my favorite last verse in any posse cut is the GZA (Genuis) in "Protect Ya Neck," the Wu Tang Clan's first single--"But he don't know the meaning of dope/ when he's lookin for a suit and tie rap that's cleaner than a bar of soap/ And I'm the dirtest thing in site, matter fact, bring on the girls and let's have a mud fight."

2006-08-07 08:13:16
18.   Dimelo
17 Is it Masta Ace, Craig G, Kool G. Rap, & Big Daddy Kane. Is that correct?
2006-08-07 08:14:55
19.   Dimelo
17 BTW, now I got the distinction that Unpopster was making.
2006-08-07 08:18:24
20.   IowaBoy
I know you have probably discussed this before, but is there any chance $$man and Joe would bring up Hughes before or after Sept. 1st? Hopefully before Sept. 1st in case he does well so he would be eligible for the PS.
2006-08-07 08:19:33
21.   unpopster
17 Big Daddy Kane stole the show on "The Symphony" -- "like a bottle of juice, rhymes are being poured...put a quarter in yer ass cuz ya played yerself". WOW!

Alex, I gotta agree with you re: Busta. he made the songs, especially with his "Rah, Rah like a dungeon dragon" patented growl.

2006-08-07 08:21:11
22.   Alex Belth
D, you are correct, sir! Yeah, the Busta verse is just totally nuts. Really captures his distinct brand of energy perfectly.
2006-08-07 08:27:04
23.   Alvaro Espinoza
Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

Ahh, if only the Tribe had held onto Mr. Wickman. Yanks could be enjoying a 3 or 4 game lead right now. I don't know whether to boo Carmona or feel bad for the guy. Yeah, I know - take care of your own business.

Here's hoping some of A-rod's swats find grass (seats?) instead of gloves over the next week or so. The intense media microspcope will be on him either way come 8/18.

2006-08-07 08:27:25
24.   hensley
But shouldn't the issue with Wang, because of his efficient innings, be pitches rather than innings? Isn't that the metric to use? Where does he stand in that regard?

gza: "First of all, who's your A & R, a mountain climber who plays the electric guitar."

Hilarious. 36-Chambers is hands down the best.

2006-08-07 08:35:27
25.   seamus
Is there some way we can easily move Arod down in the order before sheff and matsui come back.
2006-08-07 08:40:59
26.   tommyl
Great piece Alex! What struck me though is how many of the pitchers on your list flamed out for one reason or another (Wood injuries, Doc cocaine/alcohol, Byrd, etc.). I'd hate to see that happen to talents like Lirianio (Papelbon should feel free to flame out right about tonight).

Great read.

2006-08-07 08:42:42
27.   mickey1956
24 Wang uses 13.7 pitches per inning. He is tied for the least amount in all of baseball with Roy Halladay. I only looked at starters. Wang is extremely efficient. Carlos Zambrano has thrown the most pitches in baseball. He has only thrown 2 more innings than Wang, but has thrown about 500 more pitches.
2006-08-07 08:46:52
28.   markp
Folks who've examined the issue have surmised that pitching a lot of innings before you're 23-24 often (but certainly not always) has a negative affect.
Pitchers who begin their careers pitching a limited amount of innings tend to have longer and better careers.
I think Wang's at the right age to greatly increase his IP per year.
2006-08-07 08:54:29
29.   Knuckles
Yanks (75 IP or more) MLB ranks in BP's Pitcher Abuse Points:

Johnson 23
Moose 75
Wang 110
Wright 131

For Wang...24 starts, 93 pitchers per start.
16 starts under 100 pitches, 8 starts 101-109 pitches.

2006-08-07 08:54:33
30.   Schteeve
Cliff, I totally agree with you re Cashman's priorities in the offseason. It has to be starting pitching. That said, who is going to be out there?
2006-08-07 08:59:34
31.   Cliff Corcoran
16 You got me right. I love Wang and I want him to be a big part of the Yankees' rotation for years, but he has a history of injuries to his pitching shoulder and is looking an excessive increase in work load dead in the face. I hope I'm wrong, but Cashman would do well to stock the roation well next year. That said, Hughes could be ready to step in as early as May (give him a few starts in Columbus and then . . .) of course then you have to worry about Hughes' work load.
2006-08-07 09:02:54
32.   Cliff Corcoran
30 Zito, Pettitte . . . uh, I'd have to look.
2006-08-07 09:20:30
33.   Dimelo
I can't believe someone is wasting time on this.
2006-08-07 09:21:37
34.   Schteeve
Pettitte and Zito don't exactly make my heart sing. :(
2006-08-07 09:22:52
35.   Schteeve
33 That's unreal, it's gotta either be his mom, his kids, or his agent who are the webmasters of that thing.
2006-08-07 09:25:35
36.   Schteeve
33 On closer inspection that's the funniest thing I've ever seen. The only way it could be better is if they had pictures of him feeding stray puppies with a caption that read, "How can you boo this guy?"
2006-08-07 09:30:12
37.   pistolpete
As if pictures of stray puppies would soften the heart of the average 'Bleacher Creature'... ;-)
2006-08-07 09:47:53
38.   IowaBoy
I am impressed with the statistical analysis from this newsgroup. It is amazingly complete.
Since a lot of us believe this new season started Aug. 1st, has anyone done a comparison between the Yankees, Wsox, Bosux, and Twins as to their strength of schedule for the game remaining this year? It seems like the Yanks have tougher opponents for the next three weeks . Thanks for an entertaining and informative newsgroup.
2006-08-07 09:55:06
39.   bp1
31 Ok. Gotchya. Unit and Moose worry me far more than Wang, but it is never a bad thing to get more pitching, at least if "more" means "good" and not just "more", if you know what I mean.
2006-08-07 10:26:45
40.   Chyll Will
32, 34 -

List of Free Agent Starting Pitchers after 2006:

LHSP- Name, Current Team, Age:

Mark Buerhle. Chicago White Sox, LHSP 27

Bruce Chen
Baltimore Orioles LHSP 29

Shawn Estes
San Diego Padres LHSP 33

Tom Glavine
New York Mets LHSP 40

Ted Lilly
Toronto Blue Jays LHSP 30

Jamie Moyer
Seattle Mariners LHSP 43

Mark Mulder
St. Louis Cardinals LHSP 29

Andy Pettitte
Houston Astros LHSP 34

Mark Redman
Kansas City Royals LHSP 32

David Wells
Boston Red Sox LHSP 43

Randy Wolf
Philadelphia Phillies LHSP 29

Barry Zito
Oakland Athletics LHSP 28

RHSP - Name, Current Team, Age:

Tony Armas Jr.
Washington Nationals RHSP 28

Pedro Astacio
Washington Nationals RHSP 36

Miguel Batista
Arizona Diamondbacks RHSP 35

Roger Clemens
Houston Astros RHSP 44

Adam Eaton
Texas Rangers RHSP 28

Scott Erickson
New York Yankees RHSP 38

Rick Helling
Milwaukee Brewers RHSP 35

Orlando Hernandez
New York Mets RHSP 36

Jason Johnson
Boston Red Sox RHSP 32

Byung-Hyun Kim
Colorado Rockies RHSP 27

Cory Lidle
New York Yankees RHSP 34

Jose Lima
New York Mets RHSP 33

Greg Maddux
Los Angeles Dodgers RHSP 40

Jason Marquis
St. Louis Cardinals RHSP 27

Joe Mays
Cincinnati Reds RHSP 30

Gil Meche
Seattle Mariners RHSP 27

Brian Moehler
Florida Marlins RHSP 34

Mike Mussina
New York Yankees RHSP 37

Tomo Ohka
Milwaukee Brewers RHSP 30

Ramon Ortiz
Washington Nationals RHSP 33

Vicente Padilla
Texas Rangers RHSP 28

Chan Ho Park
San Diego Padres RHSP 33

Sidney Ponson
New York Yankees RHSP 29

Brad Radke
Minnesota Twins RHSP 33

Jason Schmidt
San Francisco Giants RHSP 33

Aaron Sele
Los Angeles Dodgers RHSP 36

John Smoltz
Atlanta Braves RHSP 39

Jeff Suppan
St. Louis Cardinals RHSP 31

John Thomson
Atlanta Braves RHSP 32

Steve Trachsel
New York Mets RHSP 35

Tim Wakefield
Boston Red Sox RHSP 40

John Wasdin
Texas Rangers RHSP 34

Jeff Weaver
St. Louis Cardinals RHSP 29

Kip Wells
Texas Rangers RHSP 29

Woody Williams
San Diego Padres RHSP 39

Paul Wilson
Cincinnati Reds RHSP 33

Kerry Wood
Chicago Cubs RHSP 29

Jamey Wright
San Francisco Giants RHSP 31

I dunno, from a glance it's slim pickin's.

2006-08-07 10:29:33
41.   Schteeve
A couple of things on Abreu and his "D". I don't care if he won't run into the wall. If we wanted someone who would run into the wall, we probbably could have swung a deal for Eric Byrnes. He'd run into anything. But who would you rather have in your lineup?
There's a guy in Boston who probably doesn't run into many walls, unless he's going to take a leak, but I'd be happy if he were in our lineup.

Bobby Abreu brings long at bats that often end in OBP points, he is another potent bat that will in my opinion have a multiplier effect on the lineup. That is aside from his own production, he will make A-Rod and Giambi better.

Defensively he'll save a few bases with his arm, and he'll give away a few bases with his cautious pursuit of wall balls, but I'd much rather have him in the lineup or on base, than sitting on the bench with a separated shoulder, or a broken face.

And remember, our recently departed friend Bubba, arguable cost us some post-season juice last year by being too agressive in pursuit of a flyball, and could have seriously injured Sheff in the process.

2006-08-07 10:31:41
42.   pistolpete
Sign Zito, re-sign Moose for 3 more, and let Johnson ride into the sunset after 2007.
2006-08-07 10:36:16
43.   Cliff Corcoran
42 Three more years for Moose?! I love Moose, but that's crazy.
2006-08-07 10:39:01
44.   mehmattski
Oh off days, and the discussions you entice.

40 Given that EVERYONE in the league will be after Zito, and that the inferior AJ Burnett commanded $55 million last off season, I prefer signing two cheaper starters than one expensive Zito. Adam Eaton hasn't pitched much this year but he's been solid in his few starts off the DL, and he's only 28. Jason Marquis' numbers are skewed this season by LaRussa leaving him in to take bullets in two different 13 run losses. I think spending the same money to sign those two guys is WAY more worth it than overpaying Barry Zito.

But, of course, these are the Yankees, and fans all over the tri-state will be clamoring for Zito the savior. And when Zito doesn't perform, he'll be run out of town like Vazquez, Contreras, and Rogers before him... I say break the big name free agent pitcher cycle, and sign the second tier guys.

2006-08-07 10:41:07
45.   Dimelo
I wouldn't be bothered too much if the Yanks picked up the option on Wright's contract - despite them being able to kill his last year because of the time he spent on the DL.
2006-08-07 10:41:38
46.   seamus
43 "that's crazy"? Doesn't that depend on the terms of the deal? 3 years at $15/year would be a terrible contract. 3 years with a heavily performance based provisions on the end of the deal could be reasonable. Contractwise, it may be more beneficial to pay Moose $7 mill. over three years than $10 mill. over two years, for example (just an example, not actual signing rate expectancy).
2006-08-07 10:50:27
47.   tocho

I read your article on SI, congratulations. You captured what Fernando Valenzuela meant to those fans in the states, but (and you wouldn't know this of course) he was a national phenom in Mexico. When he pitched everybody wanted to watch the game or the highlights. Baseball is very popular in many parts of Mexico (even more than soccer), but its not the national sport. Fernando shifted the balance between soccer and baseball. Baseball little leagues opened all over the place.

Personally, I started following baseball because of Fernando (I liked the dodgers back then).

I think a pitching phenom does that to the sport (as you pointed out, Nomo, Willis did that), It opens the sport to many people that don't follow it.

anyway, congratulations on your article and keep up the good work. you have a fan here in Mexico.

2006-08-07 10:52:53
48.   Schteeve
Yeah 3 years for Moose is ridiculous. I also agree that Zito isn't gonna be worth what it will take to get him.
2006-08-07 10:57:50
49.   pistolpete
46 Agreed - I get the impression that Moose has really come into his own, regardless of age. He's learned to be one of those 'crafty veterans' (ala Maddux, Smoltz), as opposed to Johnson, who looks every bit his age at times. You want to reward the man a decent contract, but at the same time you don't want to look crazy doing it. Smoltz is only making 8 this year - I think 8.5-8.5 would be a fine average over the next 3 for Moose.

43 Somehow I don't think he's going to sign a 1 or 2-year deal, and do you really want to let him walk at this point? IMO he doesn't seem like he wants to go anywhere else - something beneficial to all parties will be (see: 'should be') worked out.

2006-08-07 10:59:12
50.   pistolpete
48 It may be a 'keep away' move (Boston, Mets) when all is said & done, however.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-08-07 10:59:17
51.   mickey1956
45 Wright only counts 3 million towards next years payroll for accounting purposes. Since only 2 years were guaranteed he counted 9 million per year for the 1st two years. At 3 million he is a relative bargain, and if he doesn't fit in the rotation would actually make decent trade bait.

48 I actually think that Moose's option at 17 million for next year would be better than a 3 year 10 mil. contract. Let's not make the Lieber mistake again. Lieber would of saved the Yankees from signing Wright, and He had a decent 2005

2006-08-07 11:00:08
52.   pistolpete
49 Meant to say, 8-8.5 million.
2006-08-07 11:07:32
53.   joejoejoe
When (if) Sheffield and Matsui come back Bubba Crosby will be 8th on the Yankee OF Depth Chart and he should be 9th behind Guiel. He's got no right to complain when this is his career line.

250 AB .216/.255/.300 - Bubba Crosby
264 AB .216/.257/.299 - Dontrelle Willis

Learn the knuckleball Bubba. You'll make a great NL 5th starter.

2006-08-07 11:10:09
54.   brockdc
I think Zito would get yacked around the AL East, to the tune of a 5 ERA. Wouldn't Buerhle offer similar production at a reduced cost?
2006-08-07 11:12:04
55.   pistolpete
Maybe instead of Zito, I wonder if Pettite would come back at at a discount..

Anyone hear if he's having any marriage problems? ;-)

2006-08-07 11:14:22
56.   Cliff Corcoran
46 Actually, you've got it backwards. It's better to overpay with money than years, especially for a team like the Yankees, and especially when dealing with older players. Think about Randy Johnson, given his performance this year, it sure would be nice if he wasn't already under contract for 2007.

I forget where I read it, but someone interperated the Abreu acquisition as a sign that the Yankee philosophy was turning toward paying more in the short term to avoid long-term commitments. Indeed, I think it was the long-term commitment more than anything else that scared them away from Carlos Beltran.

2006-08-07 11:16:23
57.   Cliff Corcoran
54 I like Buehrle. Andy's got an injury history and he's significantly older than the other two.
2006-08-07 11:16:52
58.   joejoejoe
Bronx Banter readers...

Who had the better playing career?
a) Joe Torre
b) Ron Guidry

It's hard to say. Torre played a bit longer but both had one insanely great season ('78 Gator, '71 Torre), several excellent years, and both are just at or below Baseball-Reference's HOF monitor. If they had been contemporaries I'm guessing they would have been at least talked about in straight-up trades by their respective GMs.

2006-08-07 11:18:26
59.   mehmattski
51 I seem to remember a clause in his contract that if he spent a certain number of days on the DL with a shoulder injury, that some portion of the contract was cancelled. Was that the 2008 year or 2007? I don't remember.

Zito (28)
2006: 156 IP, 3.50 ERA, 109K/70BB
Career: 3.50 ERA 0.90 HR/9 3.43 K/9 7.03 BB/9

Eaton (28)
2006: 9.2 IP, 2.79 ERA, 8K/8BB
Career: 4.34 ERA 1.14 HR/9 3.19 K/9 7.04 BB/9

Marquis (28)
2006: 147.1 IP, 5.38 ERA, 68K/52BB
Career: 4.15 ERA 1.19 HR/9 3.48 K/9 5.73 BB/9

Having looked at the stats and potential salaries... I shall continue this mantra into the hot stove season:
Eaton + Marquis > Zito

2006-08-07 11:19:52
60.   pistolpete
I'm a little hesitant with Buehrle - after all, Chris Russo says he "stinks". ;-)

I definitely could see it given his age, though.

2006-08-07 11:20:13
61.   mickey1956
56 That is exactly the point I was trying to make in post #51. Take the short term deal for more money if they want Mussina back next year.

By the way does anybody know how many pitchers the Yankees have above the GCL that are younger than Phillip Hughes?

I do it's ZERO. He has to be in the starting rotation next year by May 1st doesn't he?

2006-08-07 11:21:08
62.   mickey1956
59 That makes the 3rd year a team option.
2006-08-07 11:56:49
63.   seamus
56 It isn't that simple. Flattening out over three years is much more optimal from a cap tax perspective than overpaying for two. It is not absolutely true that paying in years is worse than money. Maybe, if we were talking about a truly long term contract, but three years is not that. The odds that Moose would be an adequate mid or bottom rotation starter in the third year are very high, so it becomes a bargain in all years and better for managing to limit the salary tax.
2006-08-07 12:08:42
64.   Cliff Corcoran
63 "The odds that Moose would be an adequate mid or bottom rotation starter in the third year are very high."

Which is why you don't make the deal. Because the odds are also very high that come that third year, he won't be the best available option for the money, so why lock yourself into having him on the roster?

2006-08-07 12:12:59
65.   sabernar
59 The problem with signing the 2 second-tier free agent SP is that when it comes to playoff time,you have 2 second-tier free agents. I know their numbers are similar, but 1/2 a run of ERA can mean a lot in the postseason.
2006-08-07 12:23:59
66.   seamus
64 For many reasons. One simle reason is that economically, if you can pay less over three years for someone of Moose's stature, you are better off. But also because he helps provide very probable depth in that third year. At the same time, assuming he agreed to a reasonable salary terms (that would be a pre-requisite for a 3 year deal), you are not overburdened with his heavy salary either and his salary doesn't prevent taking on another pitcher in either off-season. This creates more of a buyers market for our team.
2006-08-07 12:25:44
67.   JL25and3
Back to Wang for a moment...I'm not so concerned about his innings. As Cliff pointed out, they've been such efficient innings that the IP total is a little misleading.

But his inability to miss bats is a different story. That concerns me a lot - and leads me to believe that his performance can't continue at anything like this level. I know, he's not that kind of pitcher; but I doubt that there's ever been a pitcher of any type who's maintained this kind of success with K rates that low.

2006-08-07 12:25:57
68.   pistolpete
So what about 2 with a 3rd-year option? Think he would go for that?
2006-08-07 12:31:38
69.   JL25and3
The idea of signing Sheffield to trade him is just silly. Remember the last time the Yankees discussed the possibility of a trade?

"It doesn't matter who it is. If I didn't choose to go there, things are going to have to be changed about my whole situation. Contract, years, everything. Other than that, you might as well not bother trading for me, because you're going to have a very unhappy player...If I'm not happy, you don't want me on your team. It's that simple. I'll make that known to anybody."

So who's going to want to trade for him? And why would the Yankees risk being stuck with him when they don't have a spot for him?

2006-08-07 12:32:31
70.   mehmattski
65 I might have cooled myself a bit on Marquis, his numbers just aren't as good even if you factor in the "LaRussa hangs him out to dry" factor. There's also the "NL pitchers coming to the Yankees generally suck" factor. That said, I really believe that signing Barry Zito to a 5 yr/$75 million contract like he's going to want/get via competition is a mistake. I know they're not the same pitchers, but the rest of the Big Three (Hudson and Mulder) left Oakland and immediately struggled. That's my worry: in 2010, we're stuck with a $15 mil Jaret Wright. Looking at the free agent market, signing Adam Eaton at half the cost is a much more flexible strategy. It opens the door for other, cheaper pitchers. From where I sit I see this (in my dreamworld, Carlos Zambrano is a free agent in 2007):

2007: Mussina, Johnson, Wang, Wright, Eaton
2008: Mussina, Wang, Eaton, Hughes, Zambrano
2009: Zambrano, Wang, Hughes, Eaton, Clippard

I don't think the Yankees need Barry Zito. Not at the cost of a $225 million payroll.

2006-08-07 12:39:12
71.   Cliff Corcoran
70 That 2007 rotation could be a disaster.

67 I didn't point that out. In fact, my argument would be, who says he hasn't always been that efficient? Sure his higher K rates in the minors would suggest more pitches per inning, but overall, I'm only comparing his current IP total to his own previous IP totals, and if he's been similarly efficient in previous years, my concern remains the same as it's based on the relationship of his 2006 innings to his previous work loads, not to some universal standard.

2006-08-07 12:42:43
72.   JL25and3
71 I may have misinterpreted you , but I don't think we're far apart. Your suggestion was that the Yankees keep Wang on a fairly strict pitch count, and I agree completely. I'm definitely not suggesting that they let him go 7-8 innings each time out, only that they look at pitch counts rather than innings pitched.
2006-08-07 12:47:17
73.   mehmattski
71 Fair enough... They're stuck with Johnson unless he retires, and with Wright. You haven't piped in on Eaton- am I creating a doomed bandwagon?

Replacing Mussina with Zito, however cold to Moose loyalty, would dramatically improve that rotation though. Overpaying for a declining Moose AND overpaying in the Zito bidding war would be a travesty. I hope Cashman continues his good streak and avoids that.

2006-08-07 12:50:55
74.   Cliff Corcoran
72 Okay. Yes. The question is, what do the Yankees do about this. They can't afford to take him out of the rotation, but crossing their fingers and hoping for the best is foolish. They need to make some attempt to protect his arm. I think a strict pitch-count limit is a must. Hook him early when he's trailing or if the Yanks have a lopsided lead. They should also try to give him an extra day's rest whenever possible (though they've failed to do that this week with their only off day until 8/28). Of course it's a double-edged sword, because Wang's been good enough of late to be a difference maker if the playoff hunt comes down to the wire like last year, and you can't afford to give away any advantages you might have. Then again, losing him for a month or more like last year would be worse than having a quick hook or giving him extra rest that might cost him one start over the remaining ten turns through the rotation.
2006-08-07 12:55:09
75.   Cliff Corcoran
73 Eaton's barely pitched this year due to injury and has moved from Petco to Alrington. Whoever signs him isn't going to be sure what they're getting and I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable saying anything about him until the seasons over.

They're not stuck with Wright. He has a club option, which admittedly would be very cheap to pick up and expensive to decline ($7 mil option, $4 buyout, so it's just $3 extra to keep him), but it's still an out.

2006-08-07 12:59:15
76.   pistolpete
Considering Wang's the only one who's consistently been giving the bullpen a bonafide rest every 5th day (also considering he pitches after Wright in the rotation), I'd say it's going to be extremely difficult to get Wang (or anyone else) the rest they need for the rest of '06.

Unless we sweep that Fenway series and clinch in mid-September sometime - in which case Ponson should see a LOT more action. Heh.

2006-08-07 13:02:04
77.   tommyl
I wonder if Mulder might be available for a regular bargain since he's been having troubles as of late?
2006-08-07 13:03:25
78.   Sandman42
69 I don't get it. Why not make him permanent DH? The Yankees have not adequately filled that position, and I don't see a better option via trade or free agent.
2006-08-07 13:09:20
79.   JL25and3
74 Excellent analysis, and I completely agree with every word. Unfortunately, as brilliant as Torre has been at keeping this team together, this is one of his weakest points. Joe will talk about Wang's heart, and the look in his eyes, and the fire in his belly - everything except his arm, which may fall off in the process.
2006-08-07 13:11:39
80.   JL25and3
78 Giambi is the permanent DH. I don't think Joe ever wants to play him at first if he can avoid it.

Besides, if Sheffield doesn't think he should be a DH, we've got the same problem.

2006-08-07 13:15:15
81.   pistolpete
I think David Cone, and to a lesser extent, David Wells, have ruined Torre in regards to his pitching staff.

Not everyone can stay in there and survive on 'heart', Joe...

2006-08-07 13:21:53
82.   Sandman42
80 I don't remember Sheffield ever complaining about DHing. If his option is picked up, you can't avoid playing Giambi at first, and you shouldn't. He's behind only Morneau in VORP among AL first basemen. History shows that would only improve if he plays the field more often.
2006-08-07 13:23:17
83.   Cliff Corcoran
80 Sheff loves to DH, he's said so and the numbers reflect it, but that's Giambi's position.

81 Cone couldn't either, Showalter pitched him so hard in '95 he developed and anuerysm in his pitching shoulder, a life-threatening condition that cost him most of 1996. Wells does have a true rubber arm, but his back couldn't hold up in '03.

2006-08-07 13:27:00
84.   Dimelo
Wow..the Yankees rotation is looking kind of scary for next year. Can we stop talking about this? I'm starting to see visions of another New York team.....the Knicks.
2006-08-07 13:28:23
85.   Schteeve
can you guys chill out on Wang already? His Pitcher Abuse Points are WAY down the list. This is one of those threads that's going to lead to people calling for Torre's head every time Wang gets a whiff of the 8th inning, just based on the fact that he's pitched more innings than he has before. I'm not saying that he shouldn't be kept on a pitch count moving forward, and if they can find a way to skip his turn in the rotation here and there, that's certainly a good deal, but if you didn't know better you'd think his arm had already fallen off.
2006-08-07 13:40:16
86.   jonnystrongleg
Anybody know the status of Matsuzaka after 2006? Despite an admittedly weak search, I didn't see any recent news on him. I think he could be a great acquisition if available.
2006-08-07 13:40:41
87.   randym77
Abreu has long had a reputation for shying away from walls. He really does seem extraordinarily tentative with them. I can understand not wanting to run into one, but it almost seems like he's afraid the wall is going to bite him or something. (Maybe that says something about Phillies fans...)

I really don't think we can afford a full-time DH, let alone two. The trend these days is to use the DH position to rest the regulars. And we have a lot of old and injury-prone players who will need the rest.

2006-08-07 13:41:08
88.   Jeteupthemiddle
I feel the need to pipe in about the rotation for next year.

1. I honestly don't care about Zito. If we get him, fine, if we don't, oh well. I just don't like him much...probably not based on any merit, but complete randomness on my part. I feel like he would suck in the AL East...though at least he currently pitches in the AL and not the NL.

2. I do not exercise Mussina's option, but I give him 2 year contract with the second an option that automatically kicks in based on starts and/or IP (I would like to use ERA as the measure, but I doubt that is legal). I also doubt Mussina would be willing to sign such a contract (?)

3. I absolutely exercise Wright's option for next year. The difference between having him and not having him is $3 million. Though he hasn't pitched deep into games this year, I doubt very much we could get any one of similar value for less than $3 million.

4. Perhaps I am naive, but I am holding out hope for Pavano to join the rotation next season.

5. I am hoping Johnson will tire of embarrassing himself and retire between November and March. He won't, but I can dream.

6. If Hughes adjusts to AAA as quickly as he adjusted to AA, then I expect to see him as a permanent fixture in the Yankee rotation by June at the latest. I imagine next season they start his season off with a 5 IP limit per start so that this gradual inning increase thing isn't obliterated by September.

7. I have faith Wang will be fine despite the number of innings he is pitching this season (again, possibly because I am naive?).

2006-08-07 13:41:46
89.   JL25and3
82, 83 I'll admit I'm biased on this one. I can't stand Sheffield, never wanted him on the team and will be happy to see him gone. But from a less emotional viewpoint, I can't see them picking up a $13 million option for a 38-year-old coming off a fairly serious wrist injury.
2006-08-07 13:46:52
90.   mehmattski
86My quick search seems to be more successful: Jim Caple wrote back in March that while Matsuzaka is ineligible for free agency until after the 2008 season, there is still a chance. His team could "post" him as available, and take blind bids from various teams. The highest bid wins: this team would get negotiating rights, and is how Seattle got Ichiro a few years ago.

I'd be cautious at first with the guy, but he did dominate on a fairly pressure-filled stage. Can't you see the gyroball electifying Yankee Stadium?

2006-08-07 14:02:23
91.   Sandman42
87 You can still rest regulars with an everyday DH. Leave them on the bench until the late innings.
2006-08-07 14:04:32
92.   Sandman42
89 That's a good point about the wrist. Weighing the injury odds, is there a better hitter for the money?
2006-08-07 14:16:27
93.   jonnystrongleg
90 I hope he's "posted" and the Yanks get him, he's impressed me twice. In addition to the WBC, he shut down the MLB team when they visited Japan recently. Wasn't mikeplugh excited by his up close views from Japan? That seems like a good endorsement to me.
2006-08-07 14:22:22
94.   mickey1956
88 There are several problems to not picking up Mussina's option. 1. Nobody gives the Yankees a discount to stay as a free agent. 2. Some of the recent free agent pitchers have signed for deals like Loiza 3 yrs 21 million, Kenny Rogers 2 years 16 million at 40 years old, and Kevin Millwood was 5 years 60 million. Mussina would probably command at least 3 years 36 million probably some type of option for the fourth. The better risk is to take the one year deal for more money, and keep payroll flexibility.

Zito is a bad contract waiting to happen.

2006-08-07 14:25:42
95.   David
88 is there any contractual problem or league rule problem with offering Moose a 2-year contract at a lower cost rather than picking up his option? The reason I ask is that Houston didn't pick up Clemens's option, whereupon they were prohibited from signing him until some later date after the season had begun -- May 1 IIRC.
2006-08-07 14:39:09
96.   mehmattski
The May 1 limit only applies to teams that fail to offer arbitration to their own pending free agents. Since the Astros failed to offer abitration to Clemens by December 7, they could not sign him until May 1. In Mussina's case, if they failed to pick up his option, they could still offer him arbitration.
2006-08-07 15:41:15
97.   mikeplugh
86 90 93

Yes, I am excited about Matsuzaka. In fact, I'm so excited that I write a blog about him. Check it out at:

I try to update it with anything new I find in my daily trip around the US and Japanese media, and I chronicle every start he makes. You can always go for updated stats, by reading the post on his most recent start.

He's for real, and in my most dispassionate analysis of his game, I liken him to a more advanced Francisco Liriano...from the right side. He's more mature and refined than Liriano at 25 years old, but he has a Mariano-esque easy delivery that explodes 95-96 mph fastballs and wicked WICKED breaking stuff. Stuff that should be illegal in most developed countries.

Go take a look. Browse the many posts. Watch the video. You'll be sure to agree. (Fear not the ungodly pitch counts.)

2006-08-07 15:43:17
98.   mikeplugh

By the way, that's about as dispassionate as I can get about him. Liriano....Mariano....

I've called his combination of control and power Pedro-esque at some point too.

He's that good, but I can't help calling him every stud pitcher in the book when I see him. You can judge on your own from the video at the blog. I see him a couple of times a month when he pitches.

2006-08-07 15:59:42
99.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
The other option the Yankees have in the near future is Tyler Clippard, who's been matching Hughes over the last 4-6 weeks at Trenton iirc. Very poor start to the season but has been tearing up AA hitters.
2006-08-07 16:57:50
100.   monkeypants
55 You don't really want 35 y.o. injury-prone Pettitte back, do you? Have you looked at his stats?
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-08-07 18:54:14
101.   mehmattski
98 Thanks for the link, and starting the blog!

I especially like all the video, I'm starting to get excited about the prospect of Matuzaka pitching in the US. I'll be ecstatic if the Yankees manage to outbid the Mariners and others. You think the posting is inevitable because of his team's financial problems? Thanks again.

2006-08-07 18:54:16
102.   Yu-Hsing Chen
If possible, a 2 year + option contract for Moose for around 19 M would be totally awsome (albiet unrealistic...)

We need a lefty in the rotaiton .. there's no arguing that.. RJ is unlikely to be good next year and would be gone after that anyway.

here's another good lefty that ppl haven't talked about so far... Mark Mulder.. yeah he is comming off a terrible year and he is having injury issues and he's K/9 and WHIP is getting worse every year in the NL.. still though...

Also, Zito would be a ok option to lock up longer term, he is healthy most of the time to start... and isn't old.

Also, unless we can somehow miraclously dump Pavano, he's around for a couple more years.

we could consider signing Buehlre or Mulder to a 2 year deal and then grab Johan Santana in 09? though a lot have to go right for that to happen...

I still think locking up Zito isn't a particularly bad idea.

07: Moose, Zito, Wang, RJ, Pavano
08: Moose Zito, Wang Hughes Pavano
09: Zito, Hughes, Wang, FA, Clippard.

Something to this effect?

or you could let Moose go and go for Matsuzaka too... though he is a gamble... with his workload and the transition and all.. but consider his age and that he havn't got hurt through the most injury prone stages he might just be super human..

so something like.

07 Zito, Matsuzaka, Wang, RJ, Pavano
08 Zito, Matsuzaka, Wang, Hughes, Pavano
09 Hughes, Matsuzaka, Zito, Wang, Clippard

that would be ungodly... but also risky.

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