Monday Musings: This week’s pitching rotation

United Countries of Baseball map, updated
River Ave. Blues and River Avenue Blues

RAB Note: There’s no Down on the Farm for Sunday because there were no games. Two were rained out; two teams had scheduled off days.

So I got my wish on Sunday: The Yanks were rained out, thus saving us the agony of another Kei Igawa start. Almost.

The Baseball Gods, you see, are fickle. While the Yanks’ rain out meant a rejuggled rotation, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees were also rained out, and Ian Kennedy’s start will be pushed back from Sunday to Monday. Thus, instead of being the potential starter for Friday’s game had he done well in AAA yesterday, Kennedy wouldn’t be set to start again until Saturday, and the Yanks are left searching for another starter. Curses!

Already, this is shaping up to be the topic of the week. Yankee bloggers, sick of writing about fist pumps and David Wells, have turned to everyone’s favorite game, Guess the Starting Pitcher. Our first two contestants were Peter Abraham and Cliff Corcoran. They both come to the same conclusion: Anybody but Igawa. And I don’t have a better answer.

Right now, what we do know is that Kei Igawa is not and probably never will be a legitimate Major League pitcher. Buster Olney said as much on Saturday:

Kei Igawa threw 64 pitches Friday, and Detroit swung and missed only twice and mustered 11 hits in 19 at-bats against the left-hander, a mere .579 batting average. Heard this evaluation from one Yankees’ source: Igawa doesn’t have the raw stuff to pitch in the majors.

Kei Igawa is just flat-out terrible, and that is no longer news. So the Yanks have myriad options open to them. They could have Kennedy throw a side session tomorrow and bring him up next week. They could go with a AAA starter like Dan Giese or Steven White and hope to catch lightening in a bottle for a day. They could go with last year’s sacrificial lamb Chase Wright. They could — but probably won’t after Jonathan Albaladejo’s injury — ask Ross Ohlendorf to throw a three- or four-inning start with a patchwork of bullpen pitchers behind him picking up the slack.

Right now, we just don’t know, and until the Yankees announce something, I’m sure everyone writing on the Yankees will spend the week speculating. So what do you do, RAB readers? I’m at a loss for this one, but I’d settle for just about anyone other than Kei Igawa.

United Countries of Baseball map, updated
River Ave. Blues and River Avenue Blues
  • Chip

    I know I’m going to get shot for this but what about throwing Joba for 4 innings? You can send down Igawa (worthless) or put Betemit on the DL (not sure what the exact situation is there) in order to give yourself another reliever. Don’t pitch Joba this week, have him throw a bullpen and then start him in that spot.

    My thinking is this, Santana and Billingsly (sp?) were both spot-starters while in the pen and they didn’t get injured. Yes they were also long relievers in the pen but I don’t buy it that it’s that big of a difference. Give the kid a week to prepare, throw his side session and start him. Have him pitch about 5 innings/70-80 pitches (whichever comes first) and let him get a feel for his change and curve. You’re going to come out maybe one or two innings over what he pitches in a week which is no big deal so this shouldn’t cause him to be in the pen longer than he will already.

    Seriously, the kid was a starter this spring and pitched 3, 4 or 5 innings a time so why can’t he do it here? I’d rather he throw 4 or 5 innings and leave allowing 1 or 2 runs than having Kei Igawa or some other AAA pitcher give up 3 in 4 innings and they both tax the bullpen equally. Hell, if he falls apart early, then let Igawa come in and help the Met’s offensive numbers.

    • steve

      the problem with this is you’ll have to rest him as if he was a starter, few days off before and then after, which means they will lose their set up man for over a week, now, i’m all for joba as a starter, but i’d rather have him start consistently then go back and forth between the two roles.

      i wish we could have sent igawa to SD last year when we had the chance.

  • Simon B.

    Why hasn’t the team given Steven White a chance? He’s been consistently “pretty good” in the minors for many years. He has nothing more to learn there. He’s on the 40 man roster, so there’s nothing to lose in terms of roster management.

    And hey, you never know when a guy who was decent in the minor leagues suddenly surprises once he gets the majors (IE Wang). Okay, so that’s not going to happen, but it seems like a shame that White has been pitching well in the minors for years and he’s never gotten a chance. He can’t be much worse than Igawa.

    White seems like the perfect choice really.

    • Count Zero

      Agreed – White seems like the best choice for logistic reasons. Although, I can’t say I’m averse to just having Kennedy throw on the side and calling him back up either.

  • Stylez

    Alan Horne is really missing big oppurtunities here right now but if were playing this game the, in all actuality, Steven White seems most logical. He’s sporting a 2.68 era in 40 innings, only allowing 31 hits. His walks are a bit high for the liking but hitters BA against him is a paltry .207. Then again Giese has been really good. Either way both are mediocre options at best and I’d really take a 4.5 era from either right about now.

    On Igawa, I do’t think his stuff is bad at all, he has a decent o good fastball for a left and his change is suppose to be exceptional know? Whther he’s gotten it over mlb pitchers is another thing but I don’t think I would call his stuff fringe..His performances would certainly say fringe though

  • Phil McCracken

    I hope they bring up McCutchen. So after we get the rotation squared away, he can just shift to the bullpen.

    • mustang

      I second that.
      Bring up Danimal…..Danimal…..

    • RichYF

      I would love to see McCutchen, but he’ll get hammered. No doubt in my mind. He needs at least another half-year before he’s ready for the big time. He pitched well in AA, but he’s getting his pretty hard right now in AAA. He’s getting old, but you can’t destroy his confidence by bringing him up and letting him get smashed.

      • A.D.

        McCutchen is still in AA, where he had 1 bad start, I’m all for him too, but his start got rained out yesterday, so he’s in the same boat as Kennedy

  • LiveFromNewYork

    All I know is that I have tickets to Sat and Sun games with a bunch of Mets fans. I will be the ONLY Yankee fan there with them this weekend (out of town friends who got tickets). I hope the starting pitching does not suck this weekend.

    • mustang

      I hear that I have tickets for Sunday.

  • Manimal

    Cross your fingers and hope that Girardi does something creative.

  • nick

    Why not Giese? He is throwing the best among the AAA starters. (1.13 ERA 0.96 WHIP 4:1 K:BB ratio, and nearly a K an inning). Only Rasner has better numbers than him in Scranton.

    He’s a non-prospect, so if he’s terrible, he could easily be DFAed back to Scranton or even released.

    One problem is that Giese is not on the 40 man roster, so a move would have to be made. ( I have no problem with DFAing Kei, but the yanks might). Another is that he is a 31 year old minor league reliever with ~9 innings of ML experience. This is his first year starting. WIthout having seen a scouting report on him, my guess is that his stuff makes Mussina look like Chamberlain.

    I’m still rooting for Giese to get the nod, it would be a great story and maybe he can have an Aaron Small type summer.

  • Rich

    Igawa was a worse signing than Pavano, which is about as low as you can go. That’s not meant as a knock on Cash, who I support because the good decisions far outweighs the inevitable bad ones that any GM will make over time. The point is that it’s time to cut the cord…forever. He’s a sunk cost.

    As for who should get the next start, I would be fine with Giese, McCutchen, White, or Wright , although if IPK pitches effectively in a shortened outing today, that would work as well.

    Just as long as Igawa doesn’t make another start.

    • Ben K.

      I don’t even really blame Cash for Igawa. He’s not personally scouting pitchers in the Pacific. Whoever heads up that operation, however, should find himself demoted.

  • Mike

    My pick is Scott Patterson. I know he is a reliever, but he thought he deserved a spot with the big club out of spring training and he probably did.

    So bring him up and let him put his money where his mouth is. He wants to show the Yanks they made a mistake by sending him down.

    A man on a mission might pay off.

    The roster move would be to send Igawa to Trenton (or lower) and move McCutchen to Scranton.

    • mustang

      Sounds good to me.
      Especially the moving McCutchen to Scranton part but can they send Igawa back to Japan.

    • Casper

      My pick is Brett Gardner. I know he is an outfielder, but he thought he deserved a spot with the big club out of spring training and he probably did.

      So bring him up and let him put his money where his mouth is. He wants to show the Yanks they made a mistake by sending him down.

      A man on a mission might pay off.

      The roster move would be to send Igawa to Trenton (or lower) and move McCutchen to Scranton.

      • steve (different one)

        how does bringing up Patterson help anything?

        and who cares if he deserved a spot after ST? Bruney beat him out and was pitching like he deserved it before he got hurt.

        meanwhile Patterson has been mediocre in AAA.

        if he’d been pitching well in AAA, he’d have been called up already. but he wasn’t.

        Spring Training was 2 months ago.

  • mustang

    I hate to say this but we might have to see Igawa one more time. It might be a little unfair not to give him one more chance especially when his first start was against the Tigers’ line-up. Couple this with the fact that they don’t seem to have any buyable option.
    Still if they are going to do it I hope they do it on Thursday not Friday against the Mets. If the Mets get rain out today Santana would pitch Friday.
    Yes, guys Santana vs. Igawa I hope the Yankees would not have the heart to do that to their fans.
    Pray for NO RAIN TODAY.

    • mustang

      would have the heart not to do that to their fans.
      Sorry Grammar Guy.

      • Casper

        Dude… Do you realize that your correction is still grammatically incorrect? Like, is the joke on me for thinking it was funny that your correction wasn’t a correction at all? Either way, hysterical. (I’m not making fun nor bashing your writing skills… I couldn’t care less about your grammar so long as you get your point across.)

        • mustang

          No problem. My grammar has always sucked and I guess it always will but that never keeps me from trying.
          The joke is not on you, but on me. LOL
          Thank you for taking the time to point the mistake out.

          • Casper

            Feel silly about pointing it out… Didn’t do it to be a jerk, it’s just funny when says “oh, my bad, I meant to say x” and “x” is wrong, too. Ok, no more grammar-talk for me.

    • Ben K.

      Unfair? The guy flat-out sucks and no Major League talent evaluator thinks he has the stuff to succeed at the Big League level. He managed TWO swing-and-misses against the Tigers and was utterly lit up. Why bother wasting innings on him? We’ve seen what we’re going to get, and he’s through.

      • A.D.

        It’s not like he didn’t get his fair shot, I think we watched last year, where he had one great outing out of the pen against the Sox and everything else was pretty much avg. to bad, Yanks might as well keep him in the minors & on waiver, maybe he figures himself out, maybe San Diego claims him again. Worst case you’re paying him anyways and he does a good job at AAA let him be solid there, and learn a lesson that Japanese pitching isn’t for the Yanks

        • mustang

          “learn a lesson that Japanese pitching isn’t for the Yanks”
          Amen to that.

        • mustang

          Amen to that.

      • mustang

        Totally agree.
        I guess those “Major League talent evaluator” were asleep when Cashaman dished out 46 million for him.
        No matter your right. I was just trying to make the point that we might have to see him pitch again.
        Believe me I DON’T want to see Igawa unless he is pitching for someone else.

        • Ben K.

          Sometimes it pays to read all the comments before posting your anti-Cashman rants. I know it’s en vogue to bash Cashman these days among certain folks, but he doesn’t make decisions in a vacuum.

          • mustang

            If Cashman gets the credit for the youth movement like the Big 3 then he should get the blame for the bad signings like Igawa. You can’t have it just one way.

            • Ben K.

              Whoever said that Cashman gets the sole credit for the youth movement? You’re putting words into our mouths yet again. Baseball Ops is run not as a dicatorship but with various pieces. It’s fairly well established here and elsewhere that Damon Oppenheimer, among others, has been instrumental in the youth movement. While Cashman’s the one in charge, he doesn’t make unilateral decisions on the moves that are good or on the moves that are bad.

              • mustang

                Ben that’s nice and all, but the average fan puts it all on Cashman.
                When you were making fun of the Red Sox signing Clement you called it the Theo signing. Not the signing of the Red Sox organization.
                That’s what they sign up for when they become a GM

  • BillyBalla

    Here’s a question I would like to pose to everyone. Would you be willing to trade Melky right now strait up for Rich Harden if it was an option. I know the Melk is our main offensive production. I also know that Rich Harden has had a Pavano like career. When he is healthy he has the nastiest stuff around. The problem is he never is. Is it worth that gamble? Harden just returned and got shelled last night but it was like a rehab start for him. We wouldn’t trade any other prospects. We would bring up Brett Gardner to replace Melky and slot him in the 9 spot. He would bring a different dimension to the offense and more speed in the outfield. If Harden stays healthy we would have an ace at the top of the rotation. Would anyone here consider this trade?

    • Count Zero

      In a word — no.

      • A.D.

        I agree, there is no reason to trade a young, productive outfielder for a pitcher who has never stayed healthy, obv. a healthy Harden would be awesome, but it’s not going to happen. He’d come over, make a start or 2 and then get hurt again, so we’d have no starter and no Melky

    • Ben K.

      A year ago, I would have said yes. But I’m coming around on Melky, and Rich Harden just doesn’t stay healthy. I say no.

      Meanwhile, Mark Prior had another setback over the weekend. He’s totally through it seems. The Reds should take a lesson.

    • Jamal G.

      Brian Cashman: No.
      Billy Beane: Fuck you, stop wasting my minutes.

      I personally would not do it, the guy as talented as he is, is just never healthy.

    • Mike A.

      I say yes. I’m coming around on Melk, but we as fans tend to overvalue our players. It’s not just Yankee fans, it’s fans of every team.

      You’re talking about trading an easily replaceable outfielder (Gardner and/or Christian could do his job right now without embarassing themselves) for a special arm like Harden’s. He’s had trouble staying healthy, but that’s the risk you take.

      • Casper

        Agree with Mike A. about overvaluing our players. You have to give up value to get it. We, as fans in general, tend to want to trade a bunch of spare parts or relatively low-ceiling prospects for proven commodities, and we expect other teams to make those deals because we rationalize how they would be improving their depth and how they don’t really need the guy we want. It doesn’t really work that way. Deals like the Abreu deal are very rare. When dealing with a competent trading partner you’ll have to give up a piece you don’t want to part with.

        • steve (different one)

          this is all very true.

          except Harden is not a “proven commodity”.

          we are talking about a guy who threw 200 combined innings from 2005-2007 and has already been on the DL this season. he has a shoulder problem that isn’t really fixable.

          if we were balking at trading Melky for a healthy Harden, then all of these arguments about “overvaluing our own players” would be more applicable.

          but that’s not the discussion. Harden is a gigantic question mark.

          would i consider it? yes.

          but if i didn’t make the trade, it wouldn’t be because i was overvaluing Melky. it would be because i have little faith that Harden will EVER be able to make 30 starts in a season for my team.

          • Casper

            steve (different one) – I mostly agree with you. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been pretty noncommital in my comments on this subject because I’m not sure if I’d do Melky for Harden or not. I lean towards “no.” I just like discussing the dynamics of the trading process (the valuing/overvaluing of prospects, the risk/reward factors).

    • Mike


    • Yankee1010

      No. Way. In. Hell.

    • Glen L

      nope … there is zero reason to believe harden can give you even 20 starts in two years let along 35 in a season

  • dan

    If the game were away, I’d say Chase Wright. But I think he’d just get booed out of the stadium at home.

    If we’re picking a starter on somewhat regular rest, then it would have to be Dan Giese (one extra day of rest) or George Kontos (not happening) since they both pitched on Sunday. Picking a starter from last saturday would give us Heath Phillips/Steven Jackson (he pitched 3.1 innings out of the ‘pen) or Chase Wright.

    Has to be one of these:
    Giese (my guess)

    • dan

      I might have messed up the days of rest, but I still think it should be Giese.

  • BillyBalla

    I agree with Mike. I would make the trade. Harden is a special arm and if and it is a big IF, if he stays healthy the upside is higher. I love Melk and he is still only 23 with avg speed at best. I would do this trade as you can replace him with a Gardner and you would not lose defense. You would gain speed. You may lose his bat but you can replace that. The speed factor alone would create more runs. Harden when healthy would match up against any ace in the game. There is our Beckett factor. We would now compete when it matters. I say go for it.

    • RichYF

      I have two problems with the trade:

      1. Without Melky this team is not where it currently is. I would say we lose at least 2-3 more games than we already have. Melky is over-valued, yes, but at the same time he is more valuable than Harden, in my opinion. If Harden goes on to have an amazing season with full health, then I will clearly have my foot in my mouth, but I don’t know how realistic that is. Probably as realistic as thinking Hughes/IPK would come in and dominate and then deciding they’re useless and can’t hack it when they struggle.

      2. “Beckett factor” only applies if we actually make the post season. If you replace Melky with Gardner, you give up offense and a defensive arm for speed. Gardner can easily play center just as well as Melky, that I agree on, but he will not hit much. If we decide that Melky is playing above his potential, and that he will turn out to be Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer, etc. then yes this is a trade to make. Harden’s injury history and the Yanks lack of pop right now in an AGING LINEUP doesn’t sell it for me.

      We all know that if this deal is available that Cash will be making the wrong decision no matter what he does. I would not be opposed to this trade because I agree that Melky is playing above his ceiling, but at the same time I do not know where this team would be without him. Do we really need another player to occupy the DL? Pavano is gone next year, why replace him on the DL?

      I have not done my homework on Harden. If his injuries are all flukes, then this trade looks much more appealing even if he is made of Pavano glass. If his injuries are all “arm” or “shoulder” then I do not pull the trigger.

      • Casper

        “If we decide that Melky is playing above his potential, and that he will turn out to be Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer, etc. then yes this is a trade to make.”

        If we hang onto a player long enough to decide, after evaluating his performance/projection, that he’s Shane Spencer… Do you think we’ll be able to trade that player for Rich Harden?

        The Melky/Harden hypothetical aside, I’m just trying to make the point that you have to give up value in a trade when dealing with a competent trading partner. Look at the Beckett deal. Anyone think Boston decided Hanley Ramirez was going to be Angel Berroa?

        • Ben K.

          I think the Red Sox knew full well what they were giving up when they sent Hanley to the Marlins. But Rich Harden doesn’t equate to Josh Beckett. Harden has issues brought on by throwing mechanics; Beckett had a blister problem. I’d take Beckett over Harden ten times out of ten considering their relative health track records.

          • Casper

            Clearly Harden is not Beckett. If you read my post above you won’t find one instance where I argue that the Yankees should trade Melky for Harden, nor where I equate Harden to Beckett.

            • A.D.

              Un-deniable Harden’s upside, but almost all of his injuries have been arm related, now maybe someday they will pass, but it seems more likely to turn into Mark Prior than even a Ben Sheets, let alone a Beckett that essentially gets past injury trouble (which I know wasn’t the original comparison, but it reminded me).

              The Red Sox knew they were giving up a top notch SS, and not a Berroa, they also knew they needed a top-notch arm, a true ace, and while Beckett had injury problems, they were blisters, not structural, and that they could always rest up the fingers at the end of the year for the postseason where he needed to shine.

              With Harden, you don’t know, for all the great starts he has, like the beginning of this season, he’ll have the bad starts where he either gets injured, or its an early start back from an injury so I don’t know if thats a 23 year old switch hitting CF who no matter what will be a plus defensive player, and may come to be a quality offensive player.

              Net in net, this might be as valuable as Melky ever is again but the same maybe true of Harden

  • Micky7 Old Ranger

    I say, Wright. He is on the 40 man, and has been pitching very well…why not him? Last year, is last year. I like Giese, but he is not on the 40 man. With his age (30/31) the team should try him out and see if he is worth anything…as a keeper or as a trading chip. Kontos is not ready yet (maybe next year) and Jackson is a BP pitcher…we don’t want to over use our BP, do we? 27/08.

  • Rich

    There’s a curious note on Ken Davidoff’s blog:

    And the Red Sox have been hoping that the Yankees give up on Igawa, so that Boston can make an end-around effort to get him (obviously, the Yankees wouldn’t give Igawa directly to the Red Sox).

  • Bill

    I think the clear choice is Steven White. He’s 27 its about time he gets a shot as a starter. He’s pitching well right now. He’s already on the 40-man roster. He really should’ve gotten Igawa’s start in Detroit. The only problem is that he is also scheduled to pitch in the SWB double header today. He could however just have a throw day and be ready to go Friday, although that might put SWB in a bind, but whatever that’s the least of our concerns.

    If not give it to Giese and make room on the 40-man. I don’t think anyone would pick up Stewart if we cut him from the 40.

  • A.D.

    It should be White or Wright, both have pitched well in their leagues, Wright was decent last year, and he’s gotten better since then, otherwise White can come up and postentially do what Rasner has been.

  • Pingback: River Ave. Blues | What do the Red Sox want with Kei Igawa?