Cognitive dissonance surrounding Joba’s future role

The obligatory Roger Clemens post
Hank takes the Torre route in Clemens statement

We haven’t dropped in on our good buddy Joba Chamberlain in a while so let’s visit with the Yanks’ Number 1 prospect, according to Baseball America.

As is always the case these days with Joba, there’s a lot on the Internet about him. All of it is contradictory, and as an added bonus, none of it involves Hank Steinbrenner, Joe Girardi of Brian Cashman talking about Joba’s place in the rotation or bullpen next year. Instead, it comes from the Joba-Worshipping Yankee Universe.

In one corner, we have Joba the Starter. By way of Baseball Think Factory, we have Wax Heaven, a baseball card blog, taking a look at Joba Chamberlain. Mario Alejandro, the site’s author, runs a whole bunch of comps and finds that, yes, Joba Chamberlain should be a pretty damn good starter in 2008 and forever more. The conclusion:

Though Chamberlain’s GB% wasn’t very high, his K/9 ratio was so high that he effectively pitched better than every pitcher we have looked at thus far. I am fully aware that Chamberlain’s numbers are based off of a small sample size and his ERA will not stay at 0.38, but his K/9 ratio is very consistent with his minor league stats and his GB% is actually much lower than his minor league average. I expect that his K/9 ratio will remain above 10 and his GB% will likely reach 50% next year, meaning that he could easily outperform 95% of American League pitchers, including Johan Santana.

So how do Yankee fans respond to this glowing praise from an unbiased fan who doesn’t purport to have a mancrush on Joba like we do here at RAB? By turning to the other corner and mentioning Joba the Reliever of course. By way of My Baseball Bias comes this poll on YesNetwork.com. The poll asks, “Who should be Mariano Rivera‘s primary set-up man?” While none of the choices are Ross Ohlendorf, visitors can opt for Kyle Farnsworth, LaTroy Hawkins or Joba Chamberlain. With 2646 votes counted, Joba has received 53 percent of them, Hawkins 31 percent and Farnsworth at 16.

Talk about bad third-place finishes.

This is, of course, no surprise. Everyone loved watching Joba come out of the pen last year and do his best Mariano Rivera circa 1996 impression. And the numbers are pretty damn impressive: 24 IP, 12 H, 6 BB, 34 K. It’s hard to argue with that. But it’s harder to sacrifice Joba’s place in the rotation and the potential to be the next Roger Clemens, sans Vitamin B12 shots, or Johan Santana.

Meanwhile, the YES Network poll highlights a topic Joe is planning on covering before Spring Training: the precarious state of the Yankee bullpen. With Hawkins and Farnsworth the designated heirs to the 8th inning right now, I’m stocking up on Pepto Bismal and calling my (non-existent) heart doctor. As I said, I’d like to see Ross Ohlendorf given that spot if he shows up and has a good spring training. He was willing to throw strikes in limited September duty, and his stuff is better than Hawkins’.

With Spring Training a few weeks away, we’ll be hearing a lot about Joba. But for now, it’s the same old, same old. Everyone thinks he should start except Yankee fans who were so seduced by his bullpen presence last year. Stick him in the rotation, I say. There’s your ace.

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The obligatory Roger Clemens post
Hank takes the Torre route in Clemens statement
  • dan

    I really don’t see the relief argument…. He’s more valuable in the rotation (every pitcher is, unless you have 1 pitch or something) and it’s better for him and the Yankees long term. However, I do agree with starting him the ‘pen for the first 6 weeks or so to limit his innings ONLY if he is put back in the rotation after a month or so.

  • dan

    And Ben, I think your first sentence needs to be tweaked (haven’t)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      So it did. Thanks, dan.

  • E-ROC

    Hopefully, Joba returns to the rotation after starting the year in the ‘pen, if that’s even true. Some of those bullpen options will stick. Lets pray that something sticks sooner rather than later.

  • barry

    I love Joba in the rotation, the reality is that if you do this you need a 6 man rotation to limit innings on the young guns( I personally think you need one regardless of whether Joba is or not because either way Phil and Ian don’t make up the difference). The problem is the 6-man is sort of taboo in the baseball world, but who knows maybe they’ll spot start Igawa against really shitty teams. I like the Yankees rotation either way and Joba is still going to win us games no matter what his role is, but honestly I’d rather see a season performance similar to a Dwight Gooden circa 1984 than Mariano Rivera circa 1996. Who knows though maybe I’m swinging for the fences.

  • Stu

    The best solution I’ve read is using Joba and Kennedy together as a 5th starter. In this scenario, Joba would pitch 4-5 innings and Kennedy would pitch 4-5 innings, together going a complete game, and resting the bullpen every 5th day, unless disaster strikes. That way, both of their innings are kept down until you need them both to be starters later in the season, when presumably their stamina is up.

  • Jeff

    I may be crazy but I have a feeling Fanrns is going to be better this year. Playing for the contract and pitching out of the windup wich he finally found at the end of last season might make a difference. Ben you may be right and we could all drop dead before that happens.
    With that said I think Joba needs to be in the rotation… someone else needs to step up to make that happen( I’m really looking forward to seeing what Humberto can do once he gets healthy). If not thought I think Giardi is going to be second guessing especially if Joba experiences some growing pains in his new role.

    • eric from morrisania

      You’re absolutely right, i agree with you 100%.

      You ARE crazy. (About Farnsworth, that is…)

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    I dunno what in the word happened to baseball, but becoming a reliever is supposed to be a fall back option, not a goal. Leave him in the rotation until he proves he can’t handle it. That’s not a Joba-specific quote either.

  • brxbmrs

    As long as Joba’s healthy, I’m not too concerned where he pitches – although I have a hard time believing the Yanks won’t need him to setup.

    I’m not sure how anyone can expect Farns or Hawkins to do the job – they might be good in spurts, but their history shows us they aren’t good enough.

    As for Ohlendorf and Veras (who I like best of the 4), it doesn’t look good.

    Doesn’t mean we don’t hope for the best with all these guys plus maybe Sanchez, et al mid year (or converting guys like Horne or Marquez), but the last few years has shown us, going into the year with a shaky pen (retreads and youngsters among other bad decisions) causes big problems.

    To me the real answer is forget Santana – use Tabata and or Jackson to bring in a couple proven young arms for the pen – doing that we can go with the big 3 in the rotation and also hopefully have their counterparts in the pen leading up to Mo.

    • keith

      Tabata or Jackson for relievers? Holy Shit.

      • brxbmrs

        Tabata and Jackson aren’t even AA ballplayers yet – and I’m not talking about old, washed out guys like we keep getting.

        Lets not think either guy is a lock to be an All-Star – and even though I’m not a fan of Abreu – guys that you can stick in the corner that can drive in 100 RBI’s are much more available than pitching.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          None of the guys I named, with the exception of Karsay, were old or washed out when they arrived in New York.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

          Who, exactly, would you trade them for? It makes no sense to trade for a bullpen all-star, since there are so few, and since they tend to flame out after time. Even Stanton, Mendoza, and Nelson, our saviors during the dynasty, had bad years and eventually started to suck.

          We’re building the bullpen the right way. Give yourself tons and tons of options, and see who sticks. If you look at the best bullpens of the past few years, that’s how they were built. Just look at the Padres.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I can’t at all agree with this post.

      1. Why do you want your best pitcher throwing out of the bullpen in mostly low-leverage situations? Would you move Johan Santana or peak Randy Johnson into the bullpen? No. Then why would you do that with Joba Chamberlain?

      2. Why would you use two of your top prospects and best potential bargaining chips to attempt to acquire bullpen help? Constructing a bullpen out of cheap parts is the pinnacle of bullpen construction. If we have learned one thing from watching Karsay, Farnsworth, Quantrill, et al., run through the Bronx, it should be that we shouldn’t overpay for the bullpen. Trading away Tabata or Jackson for bullpen help would be a huge waste of young talent.

  • keith

    Kennedy should be able to pitch ~190 innings this season. There is no need for him to split games with Joba.

    Phil Hughes will have more of an IP cap than Joba, but still not as severe I think. Joba’s career high IP is 116, while Hughes’ is 146; I’d expect more innings in ’08 from Phil than Joba.

    • keith

      Of course I meant “Phil Hughes will have less of a cap”.

    • Fatso

      Yep, this is the key. If you have a weak pen, you need your starters to go deep. Five-inning starts + a weak pen = disaster.

      Kennedy may reach 190 innings, but Joba and Phil won’t be allowed to come close. And Moose has averaged just 173 innings over the last four seasons.

      But three of these four will need to be starters, so which three? Kennedy has got to be one of them because the Yanks will deparately need the innings. Hughes will start too because he’s never relieved (other than game three in Cleveland) and the Yanks have no plans to put him through the starter-to-reliever conversion process, as far as I know.

      That leaves Joba and Moose. If Joba can’t give the Yanks 170 innings this year – or they won’t let him – then he’s far more valuable in the pen. HIS CAREER AS A ROTATION ACE WILL NOT BE RUINED! He can be the opening day starter in 2009 at the new Stadium and for many years to come. But this year, the team is best with Joba in the pen.

      Does anyone believe the 1996 Yanks messed-up by not using Mo as a starter? I’ve never heard a soul make that argument. I only hear about the magical Mo-to-Wettland combo that made it a seven inning game.

  • brxbmrs

    Ben,

    I’m not surprised you don’t agree – just like you don’t believe in clutch hitting – (that’s a discussion for another time).

    I don’t buy low leverage situations – b\c we saw many times under the “stellar” managing of Dr. Torre, bringing in a bum with a 3+ run lead usually means overusing your closer – or not trusting the pen with a 5 run lead and doing the same.

    Doesn’t mean you use Joba in blow outs either – their should be plenty of work for him since the AL has gotten even stronger offensively.

    To watch our pen the last few years and not think if we had a couple of guys that could give us what Stanton, Mendoza, Nelson, etc did would make us the team we were not the last few years is something I can’t understand.

    We can always find offense – I’m not huge on offensive prospects in the minors – they have huge value now thanks to the rep of some of the guys we brought up – lets trade on that value and try to develop a pitching staff that is (hopefully) going to be successful for many years.

    I’d like to see Joba start, but watching how he lost velocity in the second inning of work and realizing the garbage that we yet again have managed to accumulate in the pen, makes me think that he’s gonna be missed in the 8th inning.

    • keith

      All the scouting reports that I’ve read have indicated that one of Joba’s biggest strengths is maintaining velocity into the 7th inning when he is starting.

      Instead of answering Ben’s question you bring up some nonsense about clutch hitting. Would ANYONE move Beckett, Santana, good Pedro, good R. Johnson to the 8th inning!? Jesus.

  • brxbmrs

    It’s about the guys you didn’t name – there has been a ton, and we have a 200 mil team again that is trying to patch the pen.

    As for Joseph’s point about keep trying to build from within the farm – that’s cool, but so far its not working – still try by all means, but there is room to do both.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      …that’s cool, but so far its not working…

      Based on the half-season during which the Yanks had the chance to implement this plan at the Big League level last year, it’s working. Once the Yanks jettisoned Proctor and exiled Bruney to the minors in exchange for other pitchers, it seemed to work fine.

    • steve (different one)

      it’s not working? what are you talking about?

      has the time come when the Yankees have been ready to even try it yet full-blown on the major league level? no. that time is this season.

      how can you say something is not working yet when it has barely started yet?

      we saw glimpses last season, and all of those glimpses looked positive. Joba, Phil, Kennedy…that’s called “building from within”. this year you will see Ohlendorf, maybe Horne, maybe Sanchez, Veras, etc.

      it’s really unbelievable how impatient some people are.

  • E-ROC

    LOL, trade Tabata and A-Jax for bullpen arms? The age of the outfield alone would prevent that from happening. The Yanks have an abundance of talent for the bullpen for this upcoming season. Somebody will be a gem and others will just stick or get kicked to the curb. Trading two blue chip prospects for bullpen arms just isn’t a good idea.

  • brxbmrs

    Joseph,

    Everyone gets old – we won 4 championships with those guys – and we won with great pitching, very good D and good offense. THose teams were so tough b\c a one or two run lead in the 6th inning was usually enough to win – and in a short series those teams were tough.

    Who would I trade them for is a tougher question – and that question needs to be answered by Oppenheimer, Eiland and hopefully some other guys in the org that can actually evaluate talent.

    I doubt the Indians would move Betancourt but he’s a guy that comes to mind, I also like Soria on the Royals and Neshek on the Twins (although he’s 27).

    Do we have guys in the farm now that could be as good or better – maybe, but the last thing I want to see (besides injuries) is the pen falling apart early like it has the last few years.

  • brxbmrs

    Keith,

    I also “read” at times that Drew Hensen was a five tool player, so was Eric Duncan. David West was a can’t miss guy as well – that’t the problem with alot here – you all think these guys are locks to become All-Stars.

    I’ve seen clips as well of Joba in the minors hitting 96 in the 6th\7th – he has command of at least one more pitch so maybe that allows him to be an Ace – I’m not saying it doesn’t, what I’m saying is lets not think we are going to have a great pen this year w\o him.

  • steve (different one)

    so because Drew Henson didn’t work out, we should trade 4 star prospects for relievers? solid.

  • Rob_in_CT

    JobaPhil for 4th starter!

    Wang-Pettitte-IPK-JobaPhil-Moose.

  • brxbmrs

    E-Roc,

    I enjoy your posts so I’m saying this respectfully – its not a laughing matter.

    First, the of is probably the easiest part of a team to find – b\c big offesne guys make big money and few teams can afford to give out those contracts – we can.

    Second, this idea that the pen can be made up of lesser pitchers that did not cut it as starters is funny to me – I think we are all a bit drunk on the success of Joba and to a lesser extent IPK and Hughes.

    Wang and Pettite don’t K alot of guys but they are probably going to go the deepest in the games and give us the most innings (they are also going to aloow a good amount of baserunners). To think that we don’t need a lights out pen and that should be the area we really focus on – rather than a couple of AA ofers is what I don’t understand.

    To give you guys more fodder to laugh at, the Yanks could be more than fine with Gardner and Melky as 2/3rds of an OF if augmented by a big bat FA for the other slot and of course if we actually get a firstbaseman who hits at or above what the position usually gives.

    All JMO, lets see how it pans out, I’d be happy to be wrong about all this, but I don’t think I am.

  • brxbmrs

    No Steve, I would start at the realization that alot of guys who excel in A ball don’t become ml all-stars.

    Also, pitching in October being “mildly important” – or how bout young pitching in general being the most important and most difficult thing to develop and obtain.

    Solid yourself.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      You’re completely contradicting yourself.

      Pitching is the most important and difficult thing to develop and obtain BUT you’d rather use the Yankees’ future ace Joba Chamberlain in a one-inning bullpen role. Make up your mind. If pitching is really as hard as you claim it is to get, than the Yanks should use their top pitching prospect – in fact, the game’s top pitching prospect – as a starter to maximize his innings impact.

  • brxbmrs

    Steve,

    I’m actually more patient – what I am saying is we have a ton of offense and we shouldn’t trade our young pitching – lets get MORE young pitching b\c we don’t need the offense and if we do, we’ve got the $ to spend in FA in 09 or if ALL our pitching develops we’ve got what EVERYONE wants – young pitching.

    The “kids” in the pen are retreads (except for Ohly) – Veras, Ramirez, Henn, Bruney, Britton (and his 84 mph curve isn’t a retread but he’s not meant for the AL) – then you’ve got guys coming back from major injury – Cox, Sanchez

    I’m not saying don’t give all of them real chances – but the Yanks can do both – and should – offense isn’t a problem for the Yanks.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      What’s wrong with an 84 mph curve? That’s pretty darn good.

    • steve (different one)

      so we should trade from an organizational weakness to bolster an organizational strength?

      you want trade our only blue-chip positional prospects for more arms, which the Yankee system is already stocked with?

      simply b/c you are “uneasy” about having a bullpen without a lot of big names?

      yes, the Yankees have a lot of offense, but that offense is OLD. in 2-3 years, i don’t expect any of the 3 non-Melky OFers to be contributing in a meaningful way. the Yankees are going to need OFers. Jeter will be well past his prime. Posada will be wrapping it up, etc.

      trading the OF prospects for relief arms just seems incredibly short-sighted to me.

      • brxbmrs

        Steve,

        We are just going to disagree on this one. IMO, of prospects at the A\AA level are expendable (especially on our current team) and you can never have too much pitching.

        Yep, in the next few years we will replace, Matsui, Giambi, Damon and hopefully Abreu – and I’ll bet we’ll replace them with better players – it would be great to do so with a home grown kid, but its not as pressing a need to do so since you can find those guys more easily than young arms.

        I’d like to trade Jackson and or Tabata in the right deal if it makes sense since their value is so high and we NEED help in the pen.

        We can always get a good offensive ofer – especially if we have pitching to trade or on the FA market – it does not usually work the other way.

        I also respectfully submit that Ben and most here are greatly overestimating the potential of what we already have for the pen – and even if I’m wrong here, pitchers get hurt and you can’t have enough of it.

        Farnsworth, Hawkins, Henn are abysmal, Britton isn’t anything more than a mop up guy and Edwar most likely is going to be exposed – Ohly, Veras, Abaldejo – come on – for a team trying to win the East and the WS? My only point here it is a ton of ? marks as well as a collection of guys who aren’t good enough.

        Its not short sighted – its stockpiling what everyone wants – pitching and I don’t care if the Yanks finish 5th this year – if we trade for young pitching its not only addressing our most pressing need today – but the most pressing need for 09/10/11 etc.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Why do you keep saying Chris Britton is abysmal? Look at his MiLB record; look at his MLB record. None of that screams abysmal. In fact, it suggests that success and his 65 Big League innings are quite good. I’d love to hear your rationale – other than some misguided critique of an 84 mph curveball – for doubting Britton.

          • brxbmrs

            Ben,

            Britton’s stuff just isn’t that good – his out pitch is a nice 84mph curve (he might have some value as a situational guy since he had some success against lefties, I don’t know). His FB is nothing great, he’s got conditioning issues and I’ll say it till I’m blue in the face – if anyone thinks we have enough pitching, they are kidding themselves.

            Regardless of the last opinion, what do you think Britton projects as? A setup man? No way, he’s a 6th 7th inning guy – and his stuff may be fine in the NL. but he’s not going to be eating any meaningful innings late in the game – unless its as a situational guy.

            I think the fact that the Yanks passed him over for the likes of Ohly, Veras, Edwar, etc also speaks volumes. Look at his game log – he had a brief cup of coffee at the end of the year – mostly in blowouts – he’s not going to K many guys in the bigs.

            Also what you are doing is taking a piece of my response and nitpicking it – ignoring that Farns and Hawkins are retreads and shams as well as overlooking Ohly’s Cleveland performance, his straight FB, etc.

            Sporting News just ranked our rotation as 6th in the AL – whether they are right or wrong, they mentioned correctly that we are relying on 2 rookies in the rotation who will have innings caps (they have Moose in the rotation, can’t see that lasting long unless there are injuries).

            Now you guys also want to build a pen of rookies and two shitty guys like Farns and Hawkins – and it gets better, a pen of rookies that all have shown weaknesses or haven’t even pitched in the bigs yet.

            Do you honestly think our pen right now is even as good as 6th in the AL? No way – not w\o Joba.

            It’s alot of questionmarks – which I don’t mind, but a couple of injuries and a couple of disappointments and the “vast” pitching depth you guys think we have isn’t vast, its a big gaping hole.

            And God forbid Mo gets hurt or contiunues his gradual decline (which unfortunately he probably will – especially if Girardi uses him as much as Torre did).

            I say trade for more young arms while you can and if you can – and trade for better. Santana isn’t worth what we have to give up for him, nor is he worth a 150+ mil gamble – but trading a couple of AA ofers for young pitching is worth the risk. All JMO.

        • steve (different one)

          We are just going to disagree on this one. IMO, of prospects at the A\AA level are expendable (especially on our current team) and you can never have too much pitching.

          no problem, it’s ok to disagree.

          the only thing i will add is that i think i am pretty realistic about Jackson/Tabata’s chances at becoming stars. i realize the odds are against them. i am not penciling them into my HoF ballot yet.

          but what i am trying to do is look at things from an organizational-wide perspective. the Yankees are stocked with young pitching. they are very thin in the OF and they have a very real need coming. to me, i don’t think it’s a good idea to trade the OF prospects.

          now, if one of them has to go in a Santana deal, i understand.

          but i wouldn’t trade them for a reliever. especially when you look at how volatile every middle reliever in baseball really is.

          that’s all i am saying.

          ok, gotta get back to work.

  • brxbmrs

    Ben,

    You are right in the sense I didn’t write clearly – here goes – I’d like to see the Yanks give Joba the shot in the rotation and to do so trade for some young arms with major league success.

    This hopefully would not cause Hank to panic on April 30th and switch Joba to setup (or asking Congress to allow Roger Clemens to obtain a work\release program from the Federal pen so he can come “save” us again).

    My other point was NOT Joba definitely should be the setup guy, but that he is leagues above all the crap we’ve had the last several years and to think that the Yanks FO will ignore that is not realistic – especially if we lose a few “big” games early in the year b\c we weren’t able to get to MO.

    Now, is that really so “Outlandish” an opinion?

  • jon

    One of the problems with evaluating bullpen arms is that most are burned out by the time they reach free agency. That’s why so many FA setup men are busts – the relievers good enough to be effective for a long time are closers, and the top setup men are relatively young.

    So trading for top setup men with 1-2 years of experience would not necessarily be a bad idea. There’s a problem with this though too – with only a couple years of experience, you’re dealing with a very small sample size, so that performance cannot necessarily be trusted.

    There was a great article about the SD bullpen and how Towers built it – looking for failed starters with good strikeout rates, and placing a heavy emphasis on DIPS and BABIP (not in so many words) were the main ideas. Heath Bell was a guy he was after for at least a year, and look how that turned out.

    Anyway, to make a long story short – would I trade Tabata for a Perez, Soria, Neshek, Delcarmen, Bell? Maybe, especially if a pitching prospect was included.

    I’d be more in favor, of course, of trading for the NEXT Bell or Soria. I think putting Ohlendorf in the pen is a step in the right direction. #3-4 starters can make very good setup men.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Exactly.

      But I’d take this one step further and say that we don’t have to trade for the next Bell or Soria. We already have them. Look at Ohlendorf or Melancon. Guys like that easily fit the bill.

      • kenxe

        Exactly right Ben K. We have more arms then we can use, right now. Most of the set-up guys were either not good enough to be starters or had arm trouble at one time or another. Some pitchers are better suited as a bp pitcher, we have a few coming along right now, give them a chance to show what they can do.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    How about we wait and see how Albaladejo-Henn-Ohlendorf-Britton-Hawkins-Farnsworth et al pitch in ST before we start worrying about finding their replacements?

  • brxbmrs

    Mike A.

    You are advocating business as usual – could it work? Sure – will it, I don’t think so. THen you run into the same problem we have for the last several years – trying to find pitching when no one wants to part with it.

    To me, that’s scary.

    • steve (different one)

      it’s not “business as usual” though.

      the yankees have NEVER had this collection of minor league arms before.

      this is completely new.

      what you are advocating is “business as usual”: trading prospects for proven veterans.

      give it a chance, brother.

  • E-ROC

    brxbmrs—I don’t think there is a team or teams out there that’s going to give up top tier proven bullpen arms for unproven AA players. I wouldn’t trade Tabata or Jackson for some bullpen arms. If it were that serious, the Yanks would’ve fleeced themselves sending Tabata or Jackson for Huston Street. Factor in the age of the outfield. The Yanks need and want those two players to live to the hype or at least scratch their potential.

    What type of proven bullpen arm are u looking for?

  • brxbmrs

    Jon,

    I agree with everything you wrote, one issue I have with the Pads is that its obviously easier to be successful in the NL West than the AL East.

    The other thing I agree with is it is definitely risky to make a trade for young arms – the risk also accrues to expecting young of prospoects to hit .300/.400/.500 in the bigs.

    Also, I agree with your point about finding the “next” Soria, et al – and I feel much more comfortable with the FO talent evaluators we have in place to do that – although its riskier still.

  • E-ROC

    How good is Pete Mackanin as an advance major league scout? Just curious because the Yanks hired him.

  • brxbmrs

    Ben,

    You are very optimistic – maybe you are right – but the difference between Ohlendorf vs. a guy like Betancourt is huge (ask the Indians).

    We aren’t in the NL west and eventually Ohly, et al have to pitch against teams other that the O’s and Jays.

    By all means give them a shot, but lets not think we are going to have a magical pen made up of what we’ve seen so far.

  • brxbmrs

    E-Roc,

    We don’t know what other teams would be willing to part with. My point is the Yanks should forget about trading for Santana and try to augment their ml pen with some additional young arms.

    If only for the reason is you never know who is going to stick as a reliever and for how long – and GOd Forbid we have too much pitching, what oh what would we do???? ;-)

  • brxbmrs

    Steve,

    Re-read my posts – I’m not advocating trading Jackson for Eddie Guardado.

    Lets also not think every young arm we currently have is going to be Joba.

  • E-ROC

    Eddie Guardado is a free agent. We could sign him. I wouldn’t mind that. Ok, I’m gonna stop picking on ya, brxbmrs. LOL.

    • brxbmrs

      I don’t mind being picked on E-Roc, I just hope someone keeps the fact that Guardado is a FA from Cashman….

  • snoop dogg resident

    Isnt it amazing that a team with a 200 million dollar payroll has such a gaping hole in the bullpen, questions in the rotation, and no 1st baseman. its remarkable that over the past 5 years we cant get anyone to pitch out of the pen and yet everyone will defend cashman to death.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    It’s Farnsworth’s walk year, maybe he surprises everyone and pitches well.

    • ceciguante

      or maybe pigs fly.

      but i have to hand it to brxbmrs, i think he made a strong overall argument. i don’t like the idea of sending ajax and tabata for BP help, but i would be willing to consider parting with either for the right RP. and i recognize the good point made that it’s tough to forecast BP success…but that is at least as true for A/AA prospects of any position.

      the yanks have had a gaping hole in the BP for years that has arguably lost them several playoff series. the “mud against the wall” approach may work for kevin towers, but then again jay witasick was excellent for them once too. i am happy to try out the young arms, but joba beginning in the pen would give us much needed stability to compensate for the many times these young pitchers are likely to mess the bed (like they did last year).

  • snoop dogg resident

    there is a reason why guardado is still a free agent – he is way on the other side of the hill. the one guy that i am suprised hasnt dawn more interest from the yanks is jeremy affeldt – i think he is still available

    this bullpenhas been a weak link for many years now – proably since 2004 and this year it seems to be at its worst – couple that with the innings cap on the rotation and that spells a lot of trouble.

    with joba – for this season he absolutly would be more beneficial in the bullpen, but they need to look long term and a guy with the potential to be a top 5 in mlb starter in a few years has to start – if he goes to the pen i fear they will fall in love with a two inning stopper and we will lose out on the 2009 potential for a 9 inning stopper every 5th day. he is often compared with papelbon, but pabelbon moved to the pen becuase of injury conerns. if those were non-existant he would have been a starter. joba should be in the rotation and watched very closely – 5 innings per start – no coming back out after long innings on the bench late in the game and keep him away from coming back out after a long laborious inning. its a tough spot because developing him and hughes and kennedy will undoubtedly cost them games this year

    i saw the 1/2 game pitched idea split with IPK idea (4 for 1, 5 for the other). that is a strategy employed a lot in the low minors, but cannot work in a practical sense – it is used to limit inning, but in the low minors it works because there is less emphasis on winning and more on development. it cannot be used in competative circumstances

  • Ivan

    Hey i remember last year that many people thought our bullpen was okay and turn out to be a huge weak link.

    Bullpens are tricky, and perfect example was the red sox. Coming into last year, people thought their bullpen wa average at best (and that’s with Papelbon coming in the closer role) and it turn out they had one of the best bullepens in baseball.

    For all the arguements of the yankee pen (and yes it is not in great shape) the season hasn’t started yet and who knows the bullpen might good this year.

    bullpens again are difficult to predict.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    look for my piece on Lohud on the 18th about this subject. i’m trying to limit it to 500 words (as requested) but it’s ballooning to 2000 words.

    to sum it up: the Yanks should go with a 5.5-man rotation, with Moose spelling Joba and Hughes every 3rd and 4th time through, and serving as the long reliever/spot starter. it ensures the Yanks 5 best starters, they dont break their innings limits and doesn’t require any to have to convert to reliever.

  • brxbmrs

    Steve,

    Cool, only point I’ll make is you aren’t trading for middle relief – you are trading for a guy to set up and close when Mo retires. I mentioned three guys Betancourt, Neshak and Soria – there are more but those types of guys.

    That’s worth Tabata and or Jackson – b\c low level minor league ofers are unpredictable in terms of what their ceilings truly are and those positions (if you are focusing primarily on offense) are usually the most available from year to year.

    As we saw this year – if you throw hard and throw stikes you move through the minors quickly – its not the same for a position player.

    Also, I have a huge bias towards defense in the of on our team as currently construced b\c we have offense but we also have medoice D, a young staff coupled with two guys at the front who don’t K alot of guys.

    Back to work as well.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Betancourt, 32, is exactly the kind of guy the Yanks shouldn’t get. He’s old; he’s going to be a free agent soon; and he’s just not any better than the options the Yanks have already.

      Soria’s had one good season. Neshek has had one good season. Why would you sell top prospects – especially you’re number 2 prospect – based on one year of a relief pitcher? Only bad GMs would ever consider pulling the trigger on a deal like that.

      • brxbmrs

        Ben,

        Wrong Rafeal – meant Perez, even though the Sox smoked him in October.

        I gave aton of reasons above and also stated these weren’t the only 3 guys who should be considered. Yanks need pitching now and will in the future, ofers can be had.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Based on the three you’ve named, your definition of a proven set-up man is a one-year guy with decent to good MiLB numbers and no track record of success.

          My point is this: The Yankees are embarking on just the same path that led to the emergence of those guys as, at the very least, one-year, flash-in-the-pans. You have to give the Yanks more time for their plan to pan out before mortgaging the farm for some overvalued 7th or 8th inning arms. And you have to do it for guys with a better track record than one season.

          The discussions should start and end with Huston Street. Despite his injuries, he’s better than any of the three you’ve named, and I don’t think anyone in the Yankee organization, considering their current philosophy, would or should trade A-Jax or Tabata for anyone less than Street, let alone guys with a grand total of one year of success. And this doesn’t even get at the obvious other issues: If these guys are good as you think they are based on one season’s production, their teams aren’t going to trade them. Period.

          • brxbmrs

            Ben,

            All 3 guys pitched 60+ innings, had more than a K an inning, WHIP of 1 or under, ERA’s under 3 – that’s a hell of alot more than Tabata or Jackson has done in the bigs.

            I think I was also pretty clear – when asked I named 3 guys who I’d trade for, I didn’t say it was an all inclusive list – are they proven setup guys – maybe not, but their #’s put them in that category – at least a hell of alot more than what we currently have.

            I don’t see how trading both Tabata and Jackson is mortgaging the farm – again you guys just can’t fathom that AA ofers are not that important – the Yanks have the $’s to sign a guy like Abreu virtually every year in the FA market or make a deal for one – what the Yanks can’t afford to give up is their best young arms – and they could use more.

            I think the three guys I mentioned are better than what we have in the pen – Ohly, Veras, Edwar. Cox, Sanchez etc. THey also are mlers today unlike Melancon, Horne, Marquez etc.

            Trading guys we can replace (ofers) and may never develop is painless – especially if the young arms develop – with an excess of pitching we can trade for anything we need.

            As for Huston Street – you want to put him in the mix – fine, me, I’m not trading with Billy Beane for pitching – especially a guy with an injury

  • brxbmrs

    Travis,

    To expect all 6 guys to stay healthy and be effective (regardless of how they are used) is a stretch – to expect Moose to have anything left also is a huge stretch.

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      i agree with the health part, which is a crapshoot (with Santana too), but why cant they all be effective? they were last year.

      Moose is stuck with us this year. no way around it.

  • http://breakingballs.riveraveblues.com Tommy

    I think the key question here is how the Yankees ought to leverage their clear superiority in the “ability to spend” category. There are more or less two ways to acquire talent that cost nothing but cold, hard cash up front:

    1. Free agency
    2. Scouting and player development

    Because of the way the rights to young players are distributed (especially under the new CBA), the Yankees enjoy a massive advantage in scouting and player development. They can dole out huge bonuses to foreign players, whether they pan out or not. Smaller market teams regularly fail to sign top international free agents because the ownership is unwilling to spend a few million dollars on a prospect who may never reach the majors. But, in terms of average expected value, these types of deals tend to be favorable.

    But the Yankees comparative advantage widens even further when you consider the Rule 4 draft. There, the unrealistic slotting system is supposed to dictate the bonuses received by players taken at each spot in the draft, thus leveling the economic playing field. In reality, players with signability concerns drop to the second half of the first round, where teams like the Tigers and Yankees scoop them up. Phil Hughes at 23rd overall, when he was the best high school pitcher in the draft? Exactly.

    And by signing free agents or trading away these youngsters, the Yankees either forfeit the draft picks or forfeit the potentially high upside of scouting/player development types.

    The danger of evaluating prospects is that occasionally it’s a good idea to trade a few, because individually they don’t have a ton of average expected value. But if you make a habit of it, as the Yankees did consistently after the 2001 season, you will significantly worsen your team while spending steadily more money.

    By getting away from that trend, they have completely turned around their entire farm system.

  • brxbmrs

    Tommy,

    I don’t disagree per se, but we’ve largely turned around our entire farm on paper. I think we need to see the next year or two in re how many guys stick and become star level players – the team is still primarily made up of guys 32 or older with the exception of Joba, Hughes, IPK, Cano and Melk – the kids auditioning for the pen – who knows – same for Duncan and Bet.

    I think Joba is the real deal, hopefully Hughes, IPK, Horne et al – but a couple of injuries or setbacks could drastically change the view of the Yanks farm.

    Young pitching doesn’t see free agency – all the more reason for me to not overvalue promising AA ofers.

    The other point is what we traded away after 2001 wasn’t of great value – Milton, Halsey, Rivera, Johnson, Navarro, etc – the problem was we got poor value in return and made deals like Brown for Weaver when we did take a chance on the wrong young pitching, which worked out worse than signing veterans who also disappointed.

    I think we have much better quality in the minors now, I also think we need to strengthen the pen with guys who already have a season or two in the bigs under their belt.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      We traded away Eric Milton for Chuck Knoblauch in the late 1990s. That was a stellar deal.

      Meanwhile, tell me how the hell we’re going to convince any other GM to trade away guys with 1-2 years of great MLB bullpen experience under their belts. Short of giving up Phil Hughes, it’s just not going to happen.

  • brxbmrs

    Ben,

    My point was the guys we traded away weren’t great talents.

    I read Tommy’s post as it being a mistake trading away our young guys from 01 on – to me the mistake was not trading them – b\c those young guys weren’t that great – it was what we got back for them – for the most part we got back worse and it cost us a bunch of money.

    I do think Milton for Knobby was a good deal (not sure if you were being sarcastic) – Knobby warts and all gave us a leadoff hitter and did his part in helping win 3 rings. I shouldn’t have brought Milton up since it was before 01.

    As far as who is going to give us a good reliever for Tabata or Jackson – that should tell you what their real worth is right now – not much if you can’t pry a Neshak from the Twins for Austin Jackson. Twins need offense and have a pitching surplus – offense is costly.

    Its you who is now contradicting himself – first the pitchers I mentioned only had one good year, now you are saying that Tabata and Jackson aren’t enough to pry them away.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Well, I’m going on the assumption that no GM is clueless enough to offer up Jackson and Tabata, the Yanks’ second and third best prospects, for a bunch of relief pitchers. And then I’m just using your argument right back at you: The Yanks aren’t the only team looking for relief pitching.

      First, no team with Jackson and Tabata in their system will trade them for relief pitching. Next, no team with relief pitchers, even those with just a one-year track record, will trade them for what another team would offer. That’s pretty consistent. A-Jax and Tabata are plenty good to acquire them; I’m just hoping that you would have more common sense than trade them for a bunch of relievers.

      I’m not responding to this thread anymore, by the way. We’re going in circles, and it’s pointless. Feel free to take the last word.

  • brxbmrs

    You’ve definitely got all the answers Ben – thanks for the last word.

    Peace.

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