Pondering Moose in between games

Game 147: A must-win for Moose
Game 148: How 'bout a win? Pretty please?

We’ll wrap up both games of the double header later tonight. Needless to say, the Yanks didn’t look too impressive this afternoon as they lost meekly to the Rays 7-1. With that win, Tampa extends their AL East lead to three games over the Red Sox, and the Rays are going to exceed expectations I set for them when I compiled their BP Depth Chart in late March. The Yanks, on the other hand, are utterly underperforming this year.

As we await the start of the second game in less than three hours, let’s ponder Mike Mussina for a minute. Despite his gaudy numbers this year — 17-9, 3.63 ERA — Mussina has been far from impressive lately. In five innings today, Mussina gave up five earned runs on eight hits, two walks and seven strike outs. He couldn’t really get anything past the Rays’ hitters, and this start continues a recent trend.

Since August 12, Moose has now made seven starts, and in those seven starts, he’s 2-2 with a 4.81 ERA. In 43 innings, he’s allowed 53 hits and seven walks while striking out 41. The K totals are great; nothing else is blowing me away.

As the Yankees head into the off-season, the status of Mike Mussina will be one of the team’s biggest internal question marks. He’s been something of a baseball godsend this year, but he’s showing some signs of wearing out down the stretch. Moose will be 40 come Opening Day 2009, and while six weeks ago, I would have advocated bringing him back with no hesitation, now, I’m not so sure about that anymore.

If the Yanks can find reasonable replacements for him, might they be better off cutting ties? I’m glad I’m not the one making that decision.

Game 147: A must-win for Moose
Game 148: How 'bout a win? Pretty please?
  • Joey H

    On the 2008 yankees, its okay that they underachieved. thats the great thing about sports, you get a second chance. sure its disappointing but there is always next year. we just need to get younger and more durable while becoming a more dimensional team. a team that can swipe more bases, lay down more bunt hits and sac bunts. win games with pitching. Life can be alot worse than the yankees underachieving. i guess this misfortune of the yankees is the exposing of their slacking of the last few years. now there was another team in the race. so it killed playoff hopes. lets just be positive about this, root for our team and hope to have a healthy and more dimensional team next season and kick some ass!

    • Joey H

      oh yea and give joe girardi a team that he can manage to his best with! get more nady like players!

      • Steve

        More complete players would be nice. Guys who can hit, get on base and field their position. Even if they aren’t tops in the league in any one area.

        We’ve made a habit of getting guys (Giambi/Abreu/Damon/Matsui) who can either hit or field but can’t do both.

        • Joey H

          nono steve when i say nady-like i mean, non superstar, competitive grindy players.

          • Steve

            Gritty, tough, hard nosed, grinder type players?

            I don’t know what any of that means. I was talking about measurable baseball skills, not their attitudes.

            • Joey H

              no, look at what he brings to the table. hes a good hitter for average, he is very strong. can hit for good power. OBP isnt that great but he is yet to make the papers for fucking a washup celeb ect.. and comes to the office ready to work every day.

              • Steve

                Speaking of washed up, train wreck celebs, apparently Lindsay Lohan is marrying her girlfriend.

                http://sify.com/movies/hollywood/fullstory.php?id=14757625

                • Joey H

                  dude i was inlove with her lol. idk why. now jessica simpson is my bitch ;) godd is she gorgeous

                • Steve

                  She’s one step above Courtney Love or Amy Winehouse in the “desperately seeking attention” category, and the only reason is she’s wayyyy better looking than either of them.

                • Joey H

                  how about her tits? and the whole bad girl smoking shit turns me on. dont ask why lol. and that winehouse bitch is a savage. i wouldnt fuck her with a stolen dick

                • Steve

                  One good thing about dating a lesbian.

                  The two of you can go out and pick up chicks together.

                • Joey H

                  nah dude i want mine focused on me lol. the whole lesbo thing isnt a huge thing im for. but her wife to bee is hideous.

  • Steve

    For those who want to bring him back, I’d suggest looking at this HBTimes article about him.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-mussina-renaissance/

    His comeback at his age is almost unprecedented its so rare. Its only happened a few times in the entire 20th century that a player his age sees such an uptick in production. The few times it DID happen, its was very short lived. Bert Blyleven was basically out of Baseball within a year or so and you have to go back to the 30’s to find anyone else.

    The smart move is to say “Thanks Mike” and take the draft picks and run.

    • Joey H

      yep, it was a great boost, a great story. come back player of the year worthy. bonvoyage moosey, and thanks for ur services good luck with your future endeavors

      • Steve

        The team that gives him 2 years is taking a big risk. I don’t want to be that team.

        • Joey H

          why would you? do we remember how in 06-07 we were holding our breath when moose took the mound? this year was nothing but a pleasant surprise.

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

            What is this 06 shit? Moose was awesome that year.

            • Joey H

              it was referencing to the year in which he wasnt.

  • JimT

    This can put to rest the silly Mike Mussina HOF discussion.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Mike Mussina’s performance in August and September of 2008 should have little bearing on his HOF case.

    • Steve

      He was a HOFer before this year and didn’t need this season to prove it.

      Anyone who thinks 300 wins is the floor to get in hasn’t looked at a list of who’s in the HOF and who isn’t. If he pitches 2 more years and gets 300 wins and 3000 strikeouts, that will just make him a first ballot HOFer. If he retires today, he’ll get in after a few years.

      • Steve H

        Never mind the fact that he has pitched in the AL East his whole career, so his 267 wins (and counting) translate pretty well. Throw him in the NL 20 years ago, and he’d already have the 300 wins/3000 k’s

        • Joey H

          cant say that in all fairness. there are plenty of games that im sure he would be removed from for PH’s and shit.

          • Steve H

            Yeah, but he also wouldn’t be facing DH’s like Big Papi, and lineups like the Sox for 19 years, and the Yankees for 10 years. If you swapped Glavine and Mussina 20 years ago, I would place a huge wager that Mussina could have matched Glavine’s #’s, and that Glavine would not have matched Moose’s #’s in the AL

            • Joey H

              that is two different arguments. but both sway in the favor in that the al is harder. in the NL you get less opportunity

              • Steve H

                But Glavine got his 300 wins, so the opportunity is clearly there. I wonder, if you go back over 20 years or so, and see if there are more 20 game winners in the AL or NL. I would guess pretty close, but I think the PH vs. DH offsets the ability for a starting pitcher to pick up a win.

                • Joey H

                  yea thats what im saying. it depends on what team you are on with run support. what division you are in. my best analogy i can make is hoffman and mo. had mo been saving games in the NL west his whole career he would have just as many if not more saves than trevor. get my drift?

          • Steve

            If uyou go back to the 70’s and early 80’s, everyone had 4 man rotations. He would have got an extra 7-8 starts per year, every year.

            That’s why 20 wins in a season and 300 wins for a career doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Pedro and Greg Maddux only won 20 twice in their entire careers, and they’re two of the greatest pitchers who ever lived.

            • Joey H

              ok but , how does that have any relevance ? its not 30 years ago.

              • Steve

                Because people think Moose needs 300 wins or a 20 win season to be in the HOF, and he doesn’t.

                All that means is he’s not a 1st ballot guy, but he should get in eventually IMO.

                • Joey H

                  yes. thats true. that all comes into consideration. plus factor in the steroid era.

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    If my understanding of the arb rules or anything else is off, let me know… But I think you offer Moose arbitration. If he takes it, you have him back for one season, right? And if he declines and signs elsewhere, the Yanks get a couple of draft picks? I’m fine with that, too. I’d be very wary of giving Moose a 2-year deal at this stage in his career. In my mind, best case scenario with a 2 year deal is that you get at times good performance, and hopefully he can avoid the bad streaks and stay at or above league average when things aren’t really clicking for him. But that’s best case scenario, and he scares me for that reason.

  • Ivan

    Well chances are the yanks will bring back either Moose or Pettitte but not both nor should they. I understand Moose has had a very good season, that said, I,ve said that between the two pitchers, I will pick Pettitte. He’s lefthanded, slightly younger and can go a little bit deeper in games.

    If the yanks do not sign CC and sign a guy like Sheets or Burnett for example, then you have an all RHP rotation so a guy like Pettitte can be valuable especially as your 4th starter, (considering you have a front-line FA pitcher, a healthy wang and Joba in the rotation) and then maybe you slide Hughes at that 5th spot.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Pettitte’s handedness, in a vacuum, means nothing. It’s his effectiveness that matters.

      • Joey H

        and effective he has been not. stop giving deals to our homegrown players. posada, pettite, soon to be jeter probably. if baseballl is a business let it be a business.

        • Steve

          You would feel uncomfortable with Andy as your 4th starter next year? I wouldn’t.

          The trouble is were looking at him to carry this team and he’s failing to do so. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bring him back, it just means we should rely on him a bit less going forward. If we sign CC, get Wang and Joba back healthy then the 4th starter is far less important. If Hughes is pitching well you could effectively call him your 5th starter.

          • Joey H

            it depends what we do with our offense. cause if an injury to our front end happens he becomes our 3 starter. if he in april 09 is set as our 5 starter that is fine. 4 it is not. and hughes is worthy of being a 5 starter for sure. in his limited time in the majors with the exception of this year, he has shown spurts of knowing how to pitch.

          • Hybrid Moments

            No one is looking for Andy to carry the team. They are looking for him to pitch well and he hasn’t done that for the majority of the second half.

            • Ivan

              Yea but his peripherals has been good all season. You have to take in account that the yankees D has been brutal, especially in the infield and Pettitte a GB pitcher, balls are finding holes that a solid defender gets too.

              If Pettitte is the yanks 4th starter next season for majority of that year, Im almost certain the yanks will win a lot more games.

        • YankeeJosh

          And Mussina was ineffective all of last year and had a great year in 2008. th Yankees need to decide who has the better chance to be a better pitcher in 2009, Pettitte or Mussina, not make a decison solely on 2008.

          Pettitte was great in 2007 and has lost his touch with the cutter this year. He may be pitching hurt. Give him the off-season to heal, I believe you’ll get more from him in 2009 than you will from Mussina in 09.

          • Joey H

            ok captain obvious? lol we know all this . its a game of gambling. just like we lost our gamble with the rookies in the rotation.

  • BigBlueAL

    Joel Sherman, who I know everybody here hates but bear with me, earlier in the week talked about Pettitte and his horrible 2nd half. His point was that his peripheral numbers were no different than earlier in the season or in the past. He questioned if the horrible Yankees defense, especially infield, was costing Pettitte. I could say the same thing about Moose too.

    Eventually a poor defense will kill pitchers and it seems to be a good place to start when analyzing Moose and Pettite’s 2nd halves. Neither of them are walking more batter nor giving up more HR’s, just giving up alot of hits. I know guys like Damon in LF an Melky have very good zone ratings, but there is no denying, statistically or otherwise, how horrible the Yankees infield is. They have one of the worse team DER’s in baseball. As Joel Sherman noted too they dont make many errors, but when you consider the type of rotation they have (especially w/o Joba) opposing hitters put the ball in play ALOT against them and lately have found alot of success.

    • Ivan

      Thank you, Pettitte peripherals have been solid/good all season. Not to mention his K #’s suggest his stuff is still good enough to get guys out especially in the AL EAST. Yankee defense has been brutal. And Pettitte being a GB pitcher and all, balls are finding holes or the defense isn’t coverting those balls.

      Pettitte is still a good pitcher.

      PS: Joel Sherman is still a flip-flopping bitch.

    • Steve

      Jeter’s range went up this year to where he was an average defender, Cano has typically been one of the top fielding 2B in the AL over the first few years of his career, and A-Rod is an above average MLB defender in every category. The 1B we are looking at (Tex/A-Gon/etc) will be an enormous improvement over Giambi, which will affect how the 2B and SS position themselves.

      Al you’re a good guy and I don’t want to knock you, but don’t take anything Joel Sherman writes seriously. His work is consistently hideous on multiple levels. I heard him on today’s pregame say it will take the Yanks “several years to fix this” and in the next breath said “they can compete next year”. I’m sure him Mom think he’s smart, but nobody else does.

      • Ivan

        That’s why he’s a flip-flopper.

        As for the defense, Yankees infield D was below average.

        Look here: http://www.replacementlevel.com/index.php/RLYW/comments/al_zone_rating_rankings_through_sept_8_2008

        Jeter while isn’t awful, isn’t great either, same can be said for A-Rod and I don’t know what happen to Cano. The outfield D isn’t bad but rather solid with Damon at left, Melky or A-Jax or who ever can field at CF and anybody at RF is better than Abreu.

        • Steve

          Cano has had a bad year all around, but was a top defender previously. Sounds like too many late nights to me. At 26, I don’t think his skills have deteriorated.

          And whoever we get at 1B will be an upgrade, so Sherman’s overall point still doesn’t stand, as usual.

          • Ivan

            I think Cano will improve much more next season. He was in the first half second in Zone rating at 2B.

      • Joey H

        im sorry im out of it today, a-gon?

        • Steve

          Adrian Gonzalez. There are rumors the Padres may tear it down and rebuild this off season with an eye toward 2010. If that’s true, everyone desirable on that team might be available.

          • Joey H

            ohohoh. he plays first? i thought he was a middle infielder. or maybe thats his brother.

      • BigBlueAL

        The Yankees, last I checked about a week ago, were tied for 27th in MLB in Team DER at .686. BTW the Top 5 teams are Tampa, Cubs, Oakland, Toronto and the Mets. 4 of the 5 teams have better records than the Yankees. Now Im not saying they have to be Top 5, but at least in the top half of MLB in turning batted balls put into play (not taking into consideration HR) into outs.

        Oh and according to John Dewans plus/minus system (If im not mistaken he writes the fielder’s bible every year but im not 100% sure if thats him) the worst dp combo defensively in baseball BY FAR is Jeter/Cano this season. He even makes a note with Jeter that balls hit right at him he is way above average (hence as Ive noticed the Yankees being one of the top teams in baseball in fewest errors) but still awful on balls hit to his left and right.

        The last numbers were taken from a blog done by Joe Posnanski not Joel Sherman for whatever thats worth. :-)

  • Hybrid Moments

    I don’t think his last seven starts should cancel out the rest of what he has contributed this year. I would definitely bring back Mussina on a 1yr deal with an option for the next. The Rays are a good team. In the start you mentioned where Moose gave up quite a few hits but nothing surfaced he had a 11-4 GB/FB ratio. How many of those hits were aided by the artificial turf in Tropicana Field? Mussina can help the Yankees next year as a back end of the rotation starter. Not bringing him back would be a mistake.

  • YankeeJosh

    Mussina obviously has had a better 2008 than Pettitte. The question the Yankees have to ask is who is more likely to have a better 2009?

    I think the answer is Pettitte. He’s slightly younger than Mussina, has a long history of battling through games even when his stuff isn’t there, and can give innings. I believe he’s been pitching hurt ths year, and hopefully getting healthy will help him regain his form with the cutter.

    His left-handedness is an added bonus.

    • Joey H

      they each have a thing working for them. mussina has this good season under his belt. and pettite has the yankees “big game pitcher” experience under his belt. its gonna come down to what they like more to bring back one or both

      • Ivan

        And also want type of contract as well.

        • Joey H

          both are 11 mill pitchers at best at this stage in their careers.

          • Ivan

            yea but moose might want a 2-3 year deal (most likely 2) while Pettitte most likely want an 1 year deal.

            • Joey H

              if moose wants to stay in NY he wont get more than a 1 year deal at best if they even want him

              • Ivan

                Well it depends how much Moose want to stay here. If Moose feel he can get a very lucrative deal then chances are he’s comming back to the yanks.

                • Joey H

                  um, no. they arent gonna give him an arm and a leg to stay.

                • Hybrid Moments

                  What about Mussina tells you he would be seeking a lucrative contract? There were talks about the Phillies being interested in Moose in the offseason and I believe they lead to Mussina saying he wouldn’t pitch in Philly.

                  If Moose wanted to get a big deal he could have done it in 2006. He chose to stay in New York. At this point in his career I think its about comfort. You see that a lot with veteran starters (Pettitte, Smoltz, Schilling, Glavine) these days.

                • Joey H

                  no there werent any real talks. it was more about putting him on a team that he can win in a state in which he is from. it was pure non-source speculation

                • Ivan

                  Sorry did I say if Moose wants a lucrative deal the yanks will keep him? That was a mistake on my writting. I mean they won’t keep him.

      • radnom

        Pettite also has the fact that he will take a 1 year deal going from him. Mussina can and probably should, take a 2-3 year deal from an NL team that will get him to 300 wins if he wants it.

    • Hybrid Moments

      What basis do you have that Pettitte was/is pitching hurt this year? It wouldn’t be very smart or make much sense for him to still continue pitching hurt when the season is essentially over.

  • radnom

    I don’t think its a tough decision for the Yankees. Moose is the one who will make the call. If he wants to pitch more than 1 more year, the Yankees will say goodbye and he can certainly get that contract elsewhere. If hes willing to stay for a one year deal, give him what he wants. Simple as pie.

    • Steve

      Bingo.

      The marketplace will make this decision for the Yanks, as it will on Abreu.

  • Greg C.

    He is striking out a lot more batters lately and not walking any more frequently. At the same time giving up a lot of hits. Seems to me he IS getting pitches by batters ( strikeouts) but when contact is made there are a lot of hits. Am I wrong?

    Anyone care to analyze? Usually when I read all these critiques low K rates are singled out as such a bad thing, yet here he is striking out a lot more hitters ( he started the season with around 3 Ks in a typical start, by the middle of the year 5, and now typically 7). And of course these are the worst results. Is he really getting “worn down” when he is striking out more guys and going 100+ pitches every start?

    This is also the most starts he’s had in a season in awhile. You would expect 32 tops if he stays 100% healthy and never misses a start ( especially since he was supposed to be the 5th starter this year). He’s looking at 34 this season.

    • Steve H

      Maybe he’s just been unlucky lately. Or lucky earlier in the year. It would be interesting to look at his BABIP over the course of the season, during his high’s and low’s.

  • Joey H

    hey steve i like that idea of Adrian Gonzalez. hes a lefty bat who offers up a good OBP and with arod behind him he can really crush the baseball and take advantage of that pole in right

    • Joey H

      porch*

      • Steve

        IF he’s available. Nothing solid has been made public as of yet.

        He won’t come cheap, either. Towers will be looking to solve a few needs down the road if he deals A-Gon. But the Padres have a stud 1B prospect named Kyle Blanks in AA who will be ready to replace A-Gon soon, so its a good time to field offers. Theory goes that the sooner you trade him, the more he’s worth since he’s signed cheap for the next few years.

        Cash will have to look at who’s available, what it will cost in terms of talent and $$ and make a decision. Could go a few different ways, including playing Posada there.

        • Joey H

          yes great point. but where do you see us going with our catching situation saying posada is unable to catch or is unlikely traded?

          • Steve

            I don’t think there’s much realistic question that Jorge will be able to catch effectively next year. The surgery he had requires a 6 month recovery, he’ll have about 8-9 months. Plus he’s a hard worker, so I’m sure he’ll do his rehab stuff (Unlike a pitcher or two I can think of *cough*pedro*cough*). He could have had the surgery in Late September and been ready for next April, he had it in late July.

            Plus, worst case scenario we have Molina as a backup/late inning replacement and he’s an excellent defender.

            • Joey H

              AND a definately not to pudge as an insurance plan?

  • http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/09/boston-says-oki.html Joey H

    Okie Dokie will be a redsock next year. click my link

  • mascot

    5 K/BB. Come on.

    As far as I can tell, he’s been pretty unlucky lately. The defense is terrible. They kind of need him next year, unless you think Wang/?/?/?/? will be enough. Just because Sabathia, Sheets, and Burnett will be free agents doesn’t mean they’ll be Yankees. How long will Joba be in the bullpen? Hughes, who knows. Why are we even discussing this?

    • Joey H

      because we are doomed this season ;)

  • ortforshort

    Mussina’s always blown hot and cold while with the Yankees. After the season he’s had, the Yanks will obviously want to extend him another year. I presume he won’t be looking for two, but who knows?
    Hopefully, he’ll slot in next year at the bottom of the rotation and not as the Yankees’ ace.

  • BigYank1

    Moose for 1 year, yes.

    Moose for more than 1 year, no.

    I hope the Yanks can land both CC and Burnett to go with Wang, Joba, Pettite/Moose and have Hughes in the minors as a backup.

  • http://thechuckknoblog.blogspot.com/ Mike NYY

    I think we may need both Mussina and Pettitte.

    Lets say we sign a top free agent stater (which really isn’t a given)

    1) Wang
    2) FA Starter
    3) Joba
    4) Mussina
    5) Pettitte

    If we don’t bring back one of Mussina/Pettitte it means we signed two free agent pitchers. This is fine with me but unlikely. Or we move someone else into the rotation. Probably Hughes.

    Also, Joba will be starting ’09 in the bullpen so we will need another starter for a few months. Are you ready to go into April with this as a rotation:

    1) Wang
    2) FA starter
    3) Mussina/Pettitte
    4) Hughes
    5) Aceves/Kennedy/Igawa

    Not to mention we have no depth at all.

    • Steve

      I don’t think we have no depth. The rotation would look something like this

      1-FA/CC
      2-Wang
      3-Joba
      4-Pettitte
      5-Hughes

      with Kennedy/Aceves/Eric Milton/Victor Zambrano in AAA plus whoever asserts themself as a top prospect next year. Garcia, McCallister, Horne and even Jeremy Bleich (a 3 year college pitcher) are all possibilities in that category. I think we have plenty of depth.

      If/when Hughes or someone else gets banged up, I’d feel comfortable plugging in any of those first 4 guys. Its the 5th starter, I don’t expect the moon.

  • Gary D

    Ditch Moose. Ditch Andy. Ditch Giambi. Ditch the old. Bring in the new. Next year you’d be paying Mosse for what good he did this year and what you’ll end up receiving is a guy who’s going to be sent to the bullpen in 2009 because he’s struggling as a starter. His many more hits to innings pitched is telling. Try replacing the current first baseman who can’t throw a baseball ninety feet for one who can hit and field. Try to sign CC. Cannot you see the obvious that the old Yanks cannot keep up with the younger rest of baseball?

    One rule change necessary for the 2009 season is this “defensive indifference” crap on a stolen base. Case in point: second game of the deuce Saturday: Gross steals second base in the ninth inning with one out but does not receive credit for the stolen base because the Yankees “let” him take second without attempting to throw him out. SO WHAT? The fact is, he did steal second. Why is the fact negated in the official scoring? Why is the fact that Moments after Gross took second base, Gross came around to score when Mo allowed a single from pinch-hitter Evan Longoria that made the score 6-5. So regardless of “indifference,” Gross’s uncredited steal amounted to a run and thus, his steal should be credited. If Gross while running had fallen and pulled a hamstring and was tagged out, you can be sure that the out would be credited via assists or putouts.

    • Steve

      If a decision comes down to AJ Burnett or Andy Pettitte, I still want Andy. Not for sentimental reasons, I don’t trust AJ to always give a solid effort. I know Andy’s going to give me everything he’s got.

  • Illustrious

    His ERA in the past month is 5.00 while his FIP is 2.86. He’s been extremely unlikely, as has Pettitte (to a lesser extent).