Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
What Do We Do With All These Pink Bats?
2008-05-11 20:47
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees' series finale in Detroit was one of three games rained out on Mother's Day yesterday. The game will be made up either July 24 or September 1. The former date would result in the Yankees playing 27 consecutive games coming out of the All-Star break.

The rainout gives the Yankees the option of bringing Ian Kennedy back to reclaim the fifth starters spot from Kei Igawa when it next comes due. Igawa was set to start on Wednesday, with Darrell Rasner pitching Thursday, but the rainout allows the Yankees to start Rasner on either Thursday or Friday with Igawa or a replacement starting the other day. Kennedy, who is eligible to be recalled on Thursday, was scheduled to start for Scranton Wilkes-Barre yesterday, but his game was also rained out. He'll start today, but if the Yankees pull him from the game early, could start on short rest against the Mets on Friday. It seems more likely to me that the Yankees will either start Igawa or a replacement on Thursday and let Rasner face the Mets on Friday.

The most likely Igawa alternate would be Steven White, who is on the 40-man roster and pitching well for Scranton (2.68 ERA, 1.21 WHIP), but White's extreme fly-ball rate and 4.02 BB/9 suggest he might just be a right-handed Igawa. It would be fun to see converted reliever Dan Giese get the call, but the Yankees would have to create room on the 40-man for him (possibly by calling up Francisco Cervelli and putting him on the 60-day DL, or better yet, by designating Chris Stewart for assignment). Me, I'd DFA Stewart and give the veteran Giese (1.05 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 3.5 K/BB in six starts) a shot on Thursday with Rasner starting Friday.

What would you do?

2008-05-11 21:45:55
1.   Mattpat11
We clearly have a different definition of "fun"
2008-05-12 04:35:40
2.   Chyll Will
On a good day, you can find over a hundred ways to DFA Chris Stewart. You can call him, yell at him, email him, walk past him and tape a pink-slip to his back, text message him... there's umm, DFA Stewart posters, DFA Stewart telegrams, DFA Stewart memos, DFA Stewart through the press, DFA Stewart Apprentice Style, DFA Stewart semaphore... >;)
2008-05-12 05:02:56
3.   rbj
Maybe have a charity auction. Highest bidder (open to the public) gets to start. Couldn't be any worse than having Igawa start.
2008-05-12 06:00:13
4.   OldYanksFan
When you compare Iggy's salary to having gotten an MLBer instead (where tax would have been paid), his 'adjusted' cost over his contract is about $7.75m/yr. Had he been any kind of MLB 5th starter, this would have been a decent deal. Had he been anywhere near what he was in Japan, he would have been an excellent deal (not even considering the Japanese PR effect).

As it is, with the posting a sunk cost, Iggy makes $4m/yr, basically what a bag of MLB balls cost. Even as a 6th starter, he would have value at $4m/yr.

So I can't blame the Yankees for trying to get some value from Iggy. I don't think this is a Cashman ego thing, but simply trying to get some value from this done deal. I can't figure how Okijima, who wasn't rated above Iggy in Japan, can be so effective while Iggy is so bad. Remember, Iggy beat Dice-K in season Ks a couple of times and was the Japanese 'Cy Young' once.

That being said, I hope and believe the 'Iggy Experiment' is done. In his last outing, he DID do what the Yankees wanted. Came at the batters, and didn't walk anyone. Pitched lower in the zone, and didn't give up any HRs. He challanged the batters, and they won.

I'm not sure what else the Yankees can do with him. I don't even know if he has any trade value now. I guess he goes to AAA and maybe gets another start if we have a few more starters get injured (heaven forbid).

Frankly, unless he was shooting steroids and seaweed in Japan, it's just really bad luck that he is this bad compared to what he was in Japan. Maybe it's the water in NY, and any I know that any pitcher can go either way, but like Weaver, Vasquez, Brown and RJ, the Yanks rolled the dice with Iggy and came up snake eyes again. Bash Cashman if you like, but coming up 0 for 5 on these guys just seems really against the odds.

Shit happens.

We all need to put all our psychic energy into IPK's next start in SWB. If he's good, the Yankees will proclaim his confidence is restored, and he will pitch Friday against the Mets. If not, maybe some other kid will come up, but it's scary to think there is an outside chance we may see Iggy once again in his 'final shot'. Let's hope not.

2008-05-12 06:28:34
5.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
As usual a nice 4 analysis OYF. I have a feeling we'll see him start one more time on this go round (though I hope not) for all the reasons you cite, but I truly hope - assuming the results stay more or less as-is - that this is the very end of the experiment.

On a semi-related note I'm REALLY excited to see what the Yanks do next off-season when so much $$$ and so many roster spots open up. We'll also have a boatload of sandwich picks with so many FAs leaving :)

2008-05-12 06:35:38
6.   Sliced Bread
I'd give Steven White the start Wednesday. He's on the roster, and according to Chad Jennings has been pitching well, despite struggling to find his curve. He's had better luck with his change and sinker, and, of course, his fastball (mid-90's?).
Perhaps his fly-ball rate is due to his struggles with his curve?
As long as White doesn't look for his curve in a big spot, I'm guessing he'd do less damage than Igawa, and has the potential to be as effective as Rasner.
Scrub his Scranton start tonight, and give him the ball on Wednesday, Cash.
2008-05-12 06:47:38
7.   Felix Heredia
Where is Karstens? He was looking better last year until he broke his leg. Haven't heard his name mentioned since.
2008-05-12 06:50:01
8.   Sliced Bread
more on Steven White from Chad Jennings:

2008-05-12 06:57:05
9.   Sliced Bread
7 re: Karstens
Jeff Karstens, on the DL since the end of the spring with a groin strain, allowed one run over three innings in his first extended spring training start Saturday.
Karstens could be an option as the Yankees' fifth starter once he's stretched out, but he's probably still three or four weeks away. It'd be for the best if he wasn't needed then. May. 10 - 1:23 pm et
2008-05-12 07:04:20
10.   Cliff Corcoran
8 If White really wants to make it to the big leagues, he should ask to be moved to the bullpen.
2008-05-12 07:14:01
11.   Bama Yankee
2 Hey Chyll, have you recently watched Forrest Gump?
2008-05-12 07:19:17
12.   ms october
i'm not sure rain on friday would help out - so perhaps the pray for rain option isn't the one to go for.

i think i will echo sliced with steven white - though i think he would go thursday rather than weds.

and when kartsens finishes rehabbing his groin injury i think he would be a decent candidate for these spot starts.

obviously no one wants to see igawa again - but if we must endure this - it is much better he goes thurs against tampa as their splits against lhp is worse than rhp and the mets are doing better against lhp (i thought i remember than struggling a lot againts lhp last year though).

lhp 244/317/357 ops+88
rhp 251/325/373 ops+95

lhp 263/342/409 ops+105
rhp 238/332/380 ops+97

furthermore having igawa pitch in ny is obviosuly a terrible idea.

i second oyf's analysis of igawa.
is he tradeable at this point for anything (even a bag of balls)?

2008-05-12 07:28:35
13.   Cliff Corcoran
12 If the Yankees go with either White or Kennedy, it would be for Friday, as both are scheduled to start in Scranton's double-header today.
2008-05-12 07:32:57
14.   horace-clarke-era
In mildly contrarian mode, I'd give Igawa another shot for sure. It is hugely stressful to come back up with so much riding and even more so in his case given the rancor and even outrage spilling over from failure last year and especially failure compared to Dice K (Yankee/Bosox Stuff). I would be interested to see if this year represents some benefit from his time spent on this side of the ocean, with focused coaching. In other words, one shot and you're out feels silly to me. I'd back off, not be so predictably Yankeefan/coaches impatient. OYF outlined why we signed him, and how capable he was. It is quite possible he lacks the 'character' to pitch here, but it is also possible (as we've discussed before) that we and the media just ADD to that problem by amping things so much. Lowering the volume a bit might make sense.

Note, I am not going overboard and saying '4-5 starts, give the boy a chance' I am saying 1 outing (with shaky fielding) offers NO real chance at judging this year's version.

2008-05-12 07:48:11
15.   Sliced Bread
10 why should he ask to go to the bullpen? He's doing fine as a starter, and perhaps in his mind he's better than the other options the Yanks have. Not much of a stretch to think he's better than Igawa, and even Rasner.
If the Yanks don't see White as a starter, it's up to the organization to move him to the pen.
You may be right that he'd best serve the organization in the pen. He certainly has the "stuff" that good relievers are made of, but I wouldn't expect a 26 year old guy who has reason to believe he can make it as a starter, to request a move to the pen.
2008-05-12 08:14:04
16.   williamnyy23
14 I agree. Unless you think Kennedy had his wake up call and is ready to return to the majors for good, I'd give Igawa the start. Also, it might make sense to give Igawa one more start if only because you can get through May with only 2 more starts from the 5th man, meaning it probably wouldn't be wise to take someone like McCutchen out of his routine for sporadic work.

I'd also definitely hold Rasner back for the Mets instead of thrusting someone into the circus. In addition to having two good starts under hius belt, at 27, Rasner is more veteran-like than the other candidates. Also, I believe it is a lot easier to skip the 5th man if he starts on Thursday.

2008-05-12 08:25:07
17.   Shaun P
14 15 I too would start Igawa again, and not against the Mets.

15 I see your point, Sliced. But White is 26, going to be 27, and if he doesn't make it soon with the Yanks, he probably never will. The sooner he gets to the bigs, the better - and his best bet to get there, quickly, is in the bullpen. He's too far down on the pecking order to start, unless catastrophe strikes.

2008-05-12 08:37:13
18.   ms october
13 thanks - didn't pay enough attention that white was pitching today as well

so, i guess the question really comes down to throwing igawa out again or making a roster move/changing up someone's routine - becuase i don't think they will bring someone up to pitch against the mets.

2008-05-12 08:40:43
19.   Bob B
I'm with you. DFA Stewart and give Giese a shot on Thursday with Rasner starting Friday.
2008-05-12 09:15:32
20.   a O
I really can't believe anyone is even considering giving Igawhy another start. This guy is not a major league pitcher. It's that simple.

Cashman made a mistake and now it's time to cut bait. At this point, I'd take a bag of balls for him, as has been suggested. More likely, he'll have to be released. Or leave him in Scranton. Whatever.

Give Kennedy another chance. We know he can do it.

2008-05-12 09:21:05
21.   YankeeInMichigan
Darn those AccuWeather meteoroligists. From Friday, they were saying "periods of rain on Sunday," and they were still saying it at 12:30 on Sunday, when it had been raining for an hour and a half. I figured that this "period" would have to come to an end, so I loaded my kids in the car and headed downtown. We paid $10 for parking and were walking with our umbrellas toward the park when a family headed in the other direction told us that they had been turned away at the gate.

The league's meteoroligists were right. The rain continued without interruption into the night.

Looking for a silver lining in the rainout, the first thing that came to mind was that Rasner could pitch on Thursday and Kennedy could slide in on regular rest on Friday. I was bummed when I learned that Scranton was rained out as well.

If the Yanks were convinced that Kennedy was ready, they had their opportunity on Friday, as they could have re-called Kennedy to replace Abaladejo (of course, Chris Britton would then have had to serve his 10 days in Scranton). So clearly the Yankees would like to see Kennedy do his thing one more time in Scranton -- and "do his thing" means 7-8 innings.

2008-05-12 09:34:41
22.   RIYank
21 No, Kennedy couldn't have been re-called to replace Albaladejo, could he? He was optioned on May 4th or 5th.

Check out our old friend Shawn Chacon, with a shot to make history:

(He's started the season with eight No Decisions, tying the record.)

2008-05-12 10:33:14
23.   YankeeInMichigan
22 Chris Britton was optioned on May 8th and recalled on the 9th to replace Albaladejo. The mininum stay for an option is 10 days unless the player is re-called to replace a player going on the DL.
2008-05-12 10:34:56
24.   YankeeInMichigan
Word is that the teams and league are deciding between July 24 and Sept. 1 for a makeup date. Sept. 1 is Labor Day. Seems like a no-brainer.
2008-05-12 10:51:51
25.   Chyll Will
11 No, but I read in the Daily Rues today about the kid who played young Forrest and how he's grown up now and returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, and hopes to follow in Tom Hank's footsteps in doing movies that depict the human aspects of war. It was a small piece, but somewhat intriguing enough to make the obscure reference >;)
2008-05-12 11:03:01
26.   Chyll Will
2008-05-12 11:27:14
27.   Bama Yankee
25 The reason I asked was that I had just read the Saturday game thread this morning. You used the JFK "I believe he said he has to go pee" line (good one, by the way) and now the Bubba shrimp list reference. I just thought maybe you had dusted off that old Forrest Gump DVD (or is it on VHS) sometime over the weekend... ;-)

BTW, thanks for the link 26 . I'm a sucker for those "Where are they now" type stories.

2008-05-12 12:19:00
28.   Raf
27 Seems they had a Forrest Gump marathon on TBS last night... What is it with that channel that they have so little programming that they play the same movie over and over again?

Then again, growing up, it was Braves baseball, Hawks basketball, NWA wresting, Fishing with Orlando Wilson, and college football. They managed to work in showings of Smokey & the Bandit as well as parts of the Walking Tall trilogy.

2008-05-12 12:33:50
29.   Bama Yankee
28 Hmmm, maybe Chyll fell asleep with TBS on in the background...

Yeah, I remember the golden age of TBS. Before we got cable if you rotated your outside antenna to face Atlanta and the weather was perfect you could catch a semi-snowy Braves game. Of course, you could also watch Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie early in the morning before leaving for school if you got up early enough (even through all the snow I could tell that Barbara Eden was hot).

2008-05-12 12:52:40
30.   Chyll Will
Meh, I avoid channels that show movies with ten minutes of commercials for every five minutes of feature (or that's what it feels like...) Forrest Gump just happens to be one of my favorite movies, thas' all. I could quote Citizen Kane, but for some reason I was drawn more to the former >;)
2008-05-12 13:00:52
31.   Chyll Will
30 Besides, it seems like Cliff really wants Chris Stewart DFA'd, so yunnow... >;)
2008-05-12 13:15:17
32.   Bama Yankee
30 Nothing wrong with liking Forrest Gump, he did play football for the Crimson Tide, ya know... ;-)

It's one of my favorites as well. I love the way they incorporate the historical events into the story and, of course, I like the way they edited Forrest into all that old footage (the photoshop guru in me really appreciates the difficulty in that stuff)...

31 Yeah, I guess calling Chris Stewart "Rosebud" might not have been as effective... ;-)

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