All about the arms

Open Thread: Early GM tidbits
Make sure you VOTE today

Baseball fans love pitching cliches. Good pitching beats good hitting. You can never have enough pitching. Pitching wins championships. Yet in the Bronx over the past few years, we haven’t seen a top-flight pitching staff. We’ve seen a number of good pitchers for sure: Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson if you consider a guy with a 5.00 ERA a good pitcher. When looked at as a staff, though, none of the recent teams has been too impressive. Gone are the days of Cone, Clemens, Pettitte, El Duque, Wells, and other top arms pitching together.

It appears the top priority of the Cashman administration is to remedy this issue. Over the past few years the Yankees have restocked their farm system with arms from the draft, to many of whom they paid over slot money to lure away from college. We’re just starting to see the beginning with Kennedy and Hughes. There are plenty more to come, and while most of them will not pan out, the Yanks are betting that a few will. A few just might be enough.

The team is also looking to take advantage of a free agent market with a few top arms in its ranks. CC Sabathia obviously tops the list, followed by other talented arms such as Ben Sheets, A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, and even Jake Peavy (whose agent said would approve a trade to the Yankees, though that could very well be just a marketing ploy). Using their financial advantage they could sign two of these pitchers, who would then combine with Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain to form the bulk of the team’s rotation. That would be in the team’s best interest for 2009.

Going forward, though, I hope the Yankees are looking to more than just adding free agent arms and drafting high-celing pitchers. There’s certainly a process involved in developing pitchers, and it might be just as important as selecting the right arms. The Yankees have Nardi Contreras on staff as their pitching guru. While he’s highly regarded by most critics, I don’t have the base of knowledge to evaluate or compare him to peers. We can only hope he is, in fact, the right man for the job.

Just ask the Texas Rangers about process. They brought in Nolan Ryan, who has vowed to change the team’s approach to their minor league pitchers. They even went so far as to sign Mike Maddux to an enormous deal to be their pitching coach. For the team that finished last in the AL in ERA this year, such a move might be considered a necessity.

The Yankees weren’t nearly as bad as the Rangers in terms of pitching, but they certainly have a ways to go. WIth pitching-heavy teams like the Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Twins, and Angels in the AL, the Yanks could have some even tougher competition ahead. While I certainly agree that we should pursue top starting pitching when it is available, I also think the Yanks need to make sure they’re properly developing their own arms.

Open Thread: Early GM tidbits
Make sure you VOTE today
  • Baseballnation

    The yankees won’t just turn their back on their youn pitchers of the future if that’s what’s implied here. Sabathia could be nabbed on seven years…and the second pitcher, whether Sheets, Burnett, or Lowe, will only be a 3 year thing at tops…that’s more then short enough for Brackman, Betances, Mcallister, Kennedy to establish themselves.

  • Ivan

    No question the yankees need to flex their financial muscle to get really good pitching like CC Sabathia. Nevertheless, it is very key for the yanks to develop their own pitching that is cheap cost controlled and obviously very good. With guys like Joba, Hughes, Melancon, Brackman and Kennedy, you have arms that have serious potential and are extremely cheap for the future.

  • Chip

    Joba/Hughes/IPK/Coke/Melancon/McAllister/Betances/Brackman/Kontos/Sanchez/Marshall

    I don’t know if any team in the league wouldn’t trade their pitching depth for the Yankees pitching depth. I mean Betences/Brackman/Hughes/Joba all have the “stuff” to be aces while McAllister/Coke/IPK/Wang range anywhere from solid number 2 to 3/4. Hopefully in a few years they have the depth to fill out two rotations

  • christopher

    this is exactly why they must take advantage of this off-season to get relatively young number 1’s or number twos = personnaly i favor signing CC and trading for Peavy.

    with the rotation set for the forseeable future they can turn more attention to positon players/ Theit positional talent, especially in the high levels is aweful.

    Either way, they do need to start being more aggresive on drafting young positonal players, or use some of their great arms in A and AA to trade for hitters with similar potential at the same level

    • whozat

      “use some of their great arms in A and AA to trade for hitters with similar potential at the same level”

      These deals are very, very rare.

      You know how they’ll get those kinds of guys? 2 ways:

      1) draft a LOT of toolsy young kids like Jackson and Lassiter and develop them right.
      2) By developing guys to come up behind a pitcher like Wang, so that they can trade him before he reaches free agency.

      • Chip

        These trades should happen more often but every GM is afraid to deal a prospect for a prospect because you look really dumb if the guy you traded turns into a hall of famer

        • steve (different one)

          well, just looking at the team cited in the post, the Texas Rangers:

          they are ALWAYS short on pitching, yet in the last 2 years, they have traded AWAY not one, but TWO, potential top of the rotation starters.

          for everyone who has given up on Hughes, this is the perfect example of why patience is needed.

          that doesn’t mean when a durable 28 year old left handed ace hits the open market, the Yankees shouldn’t pounce. they should.

          but just remember, the Rangers also had their “big 3″, and 2 years ago, it looked (to the casual fan) like all 3 were going to be “busts”.

          • Mike Pop

            Who were here 3 ? Volquez Danks and ?

            • steve (different one)

              Thomas Diamond.

              they were referred to as “DVD”.

              just think about if Cashman had traded away two #1 starters in the last 2 seasons.

              where would the Rangers be right now if they had Danks and Volquez, and instead of Hamilton they just signed Torii Hunter??

        • christopher

          its a shame that they donthappen – real baseball trades

          the only one i can recall recently was garza for young but they were major leaugers

  • pat

    Our rotation in Tampa is going to be dirty next year-
    Betances
    Heredia
    Wilkins De La Rosa
    Castillo

    Brackman- my guess is he starts in charleston but will be moved up to tampa after tooling on the low-a ballers for a month or two
    Bleich- Ditto

    2 legit aces in training maybe even 3 if WDR improves his off speed stuff. A solid 2 in heredia and a crafty 3 in bleich. Throw in castillo as the wildcard with his 95mph heater it should be an exciting year pitching wise, not to mention that montero scrub and his buddies should be pretty fun to watch on the other side of the ball.

    • Chip

      The thing is, if any of them really dominate (which we hope they will), they’ll move up fairly quickly just because of the guys down in Charleston who could be pushing them. Not that any of this is bad in my book

      • pat

        Definately wouldnt mind if dellin keeps on cutting the walks he could spend a chunk of time in AA. Thats not a given of course but possible he was making great strides towards the end of the season last year improving the k/bb ratio. I think you could make a case for heredia to be a potential #1 if he fills out alittle bit as they think. He sits about 87 -89 as a skinny 17 yr old with a plus curve and plus change and good command of the fastball. I honestly cant wait for the minor seasons to start again.

    • Reggie C.

      Tampa rotation: Betances, Mcallister, Brackman, Bleich, and ??

      – Its NOT going to be Heredia. He’s young and should get another half-season at LowA.

      – Its NOT going to be Wilkins dela Rosa. He’s on the 40-man list now. I predict the Yanks are going to push him to AA from the get-go. He already overwhelmed hitters in tampa in over 100 innings.

      • A.D.

        Is he actually on the 40 man?

        • Reggie C.

          Yes. Wilkins de la Rosa and Eric Hacker were added to the 40 man several days ago. Both were vulnerable to the Rule V draft. Yanks especially don’t want to lose the lefty Rosa. IF the yanks moved him as a reliever, he could be up in the Bx very soon.

          There’s NO way he’s in Tampa. Rosa starts it off in Trenton.

          • pat

            reggie-
            oppenheimer already said both nova and heredia will pitch in tampa next season. Youre wrong

            • pat

              i mean heredia and de la rosa.

              • Reggie C.

                No i’m not.

                Oppenheimer said that its a safe bet to expect Heredia to pitch in Tampa SOMETIME in ’09. He’s not starting off in Tampa. Heredia had a solid debut in Charleston, but he hasn’t done anything to earn a promotion yet and he’s young. No point in having him face even older hitters.

                De La Rosa joining the 40 man moves up the timetable. There’s no Tampa in his future. BA expects him to start at Trenton. If the Yanks are considering him a reliever, he might be up here soon.

  • Ivan

    I guess NoMass are not the biggest AJ Burnett Fans.

    • whozat

      Not hard to understand why. In his “big contract year”, he still had an ERA around 4 with a K:BB of less than 3:1. And he has perennial shoulder and elbow problems. He’s pitched 200+ innings twice in the last six years. And people want to sign him to a 5 year deal!?!?!?

      • http://barackobama.com TurnTwo

        i agree. people were adamant about not signing him a couple years ago, and now he’s the answer to our pitching problems.

        sign Sabathia. trade for Peavy. bring back Pettitte to go with Wang and Joba. rotation issues done.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          sign Sabathia. trade for Peavy. bring back Pettitte to go with Wang and Joba. Audition for the 5th spot between Hughes, IPK, Aceves, Sanchez, and Coke. Keep developing McAllister, Brackman, Betances, Bleich. rotation issues done.

          • Kyle

            Wouldn’t it make more sense to think of Joba as the 5th Starter? Cash already said they would get creative with his innings limit, so to me the easiest way to do that is keep him as the 5th starter so you can skip his turn in the rotation every so often and he will remain a starter all year long…I think

  • RustyJohn

    The “I am smoking crack and spouting out ideas” thought of the evening- Pavano is due $13 million if the Yanks pick up his option next year. If they don’t pick it up, they owe him $2 million for a buyout, so keeping him around for a year is an additional $11 million. Questions- If they let him go, I would assume they wouldn’t get any draft picks, correct? Second, with there being three question marks for the starting rotation next season, the two locked in starters (Wang & Joba) having a history of injuries, and just having paid Pettite $16 million to be league average, why not pick up Pavano’s option?

    If he sucks ass, oh well. The CitiGroup corporate box will cover his salary. If they don’t need him and he is okay they can shop him and possibly get something for him. If he is good they have a fourth starter and, when he is gone at the end of the year, they probably get a pick. At this point, since they haven’t gotten anything out of him, seems like an idea to keep him.

    I am also a huge proponent of having Igawa throw right-handed to see how that fares.

    • Steve

      Even if Pavano wasn’t a complete pariah in the Yankee clubhouse and an injury-hiding, injury prone jerk that would STILL make no sense. The best Carl can hope for on the open market is a few mil guaranteed on an incentive laden 1 year deal with some team options. So picking up an option for 13 mil would make no sense whatsoever. If you really want him back, you could just sign him cheap as a FA.

    • A.D.

      They would not get draft picks

  • Peedlum

    I don’t follow the draft religiously like some of you guys, but it doesn’t seem like Cash ever drafts any hitters. Is there a method to this madness? Or is it perhaps too much focus on pitching? Having great pitchers is certainly helpful, but developing hitting talent to help an aging offense would be helpful as well.

    • whozat

      Advanced hitters are all gone by the time the Yanks get to draft. They’re much less risky than pitchers, so they tend not to drop. The Yanks have available to them pick advanced-but-mediocre college hitters, athletic-but-raw high school players (Lassiter, Angelini, Jackson), and high-risk-high-reward arms (Joba, Brackman)

      They tend to take the best talent available with their early picks, which is usually a risky college arm or an athletic high school kid high school player. The latter usually won’t hit the bigs for 5 years or so after being drafted, so you won’t see any of those kids until 2010 at the earliest.

      • steve (different one)

        like whozat said, the can’t miss stud college bats are all off the board by the time the Yankees pick.

        it really is as simple as that.

        they spend the rest of the draft looking for diamonds in the rough.

        remember, Jeter was the 6th pick overall b/c the yankees went 71-91 in 1991. that’s why the Yankees were able to get Jeter.

        • A.D.

          that and the $$$ to get him to not go to Michigan

        • Chris C.

          Jeter was a terrible pick. He can’t field.

          Sincerely,

          Bill James.

          • steve (different one)

            well played.

  • Harry G

    Speaking of pitching and the best way to develop arms…
    http://www.newsday.com/sports/ny-spwally1104-col,0,3567596.column
    Stupidest piece of writing in the history of mankind. Period.
    First of all, what the hell does signing Manny have to do with whether Joba should be in the pen??? Whether you think the Yanks should sign Manny or nit is an entirely different subject.
    Secondly, while havin a good 1-2 punch at the end of games is all well and good, any baseball fan with half a brain realizes that a young hard-throwing ace is more valuable to a team than a dominant 8th-inning guy.
    Mathews tells us that the Phillies showed us how to win in October. How? A dominant closer in Brad Lidge. Oh, how about they had a young ace in Cole Hamels who dominated to an ERA around 2, huh? That’s nothin, I guess. Without Hamels, they never get to Lidge you dufus. That’s why Hamels was named MVP, and not Lidge, because he was more VALUABLE.
    He writes that he doesn’t care that A-Rod doesn’t hit in October “because they’ve got to get there first.” Well Wallace, havin a good 8-9-inning punch don’t do you didley poo if you don’t have the lead. That’s right, “they’ve got to get there first.” And the way you do that is by having a guy shut out the opposition for 7 innings.
    Then he says that scoring runs weren’t the Yanks’ problem this past season (I think they scored about 150 less than the previous year, but anyway), and he blames the Yanks’ problems on the pen, saying that “they couldn’t shorten games.” WHAT? That’s 2 blatant lies right there. Anybody watchin the Yanks last season saw that they struggled to score runs with RISP and one area which was not a concern was the pen, even without Joba!
    What garbage.
    Looks like the editor tabbed Mathews to write a column about the Yanks and he just had to come up with something. Craziest, most un-true article of this off-season by far.
    I’m out.

    • Alan

      This is a hack article. Anybody that paid ANY attention to the Yankees this season knows that the strength of our team was in our bullpen. Edwar Ramirez, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Damaso Marte, and of course Mo contributed to make one of the best bullpens in the American League. The problem was that none of our starters, except Wang who got hurt, really ever went past 6 innings so we’d constantly tax the bullpen. What we need are a couple of workhorse pitchers that can give us 200 IP so that we don’t always need to goto our relievers. Give CC his blank check, have Jeter/Reggie/ARod/Jesus make a few recruiting calls, and make it happen.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Heh, I like how the FIRST FUCKING SENTENCE is horribly stupid and wrong:

      “The Yankees used to dominate opponents by shortening the game.”

      NO, WRONG, INCORRECT, YOU SHITHEAD, The Yankees used to dominate opponents by having 4 stud starting pitchers in the rotation and nine awesome, count-working, high OBP hitters in the lineup. The Mariano-Stanton-Nelson troika was a distant, distant third in order of importance of why our teams were so good.

      99% of Yankee sportswriters = dumbasses incapable of critical thinking or reasoning

      • steve (different one)

        this article was SO bad that i think it’s even unfair to paint all Yankee sportswriters with the same feces-covered brush.

        most sportswriters are dumbasses. agreed.

        but this article is on an entirely different plane of stupidity.

        this piece makes Sherman sound like Aristotle.

        • Alan

          Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Sherman is pretty damned bad.

          • Chris C.

            And after reading Jon Heyman’s piece about how F-Rod should be the AL MVP and place third in the Cy Young voting, I can’t read him anymore either.

            There aren’t many left.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          True. Wallace Matthews just made Joel Sherman and George King look like Steven Hawking and Albert Einstein.

        • Chris C.

          I love this part:

          “Those Yankees teams won the same way the Phillies dominated the 2008 postseason, going 11-3 against the Brewers, Dodgers and Rays — by turning nine innings into seven, or even six.”

          Nice. Except the Phillies gave up 8 runs in the playoffs after the 7th inning of ballgames.
          The Phillies have a terrific bullpen, but let’s not go crazy. They weren’t “shortening” games to 6 innings.

          In one game alone, the Rays erased a 3 run deficit in the 7th and tied the game in the 8th!

      • Chris C.

        Dude, it’s Wally Matthews! Are you surprised?

        He’s aweful.

  • r.w.g.

    it’s going to sound a little simplistic, but the team just needs some impact talent in that rotation. joba is the perfect example.. live arm and bulldog mentality.

    • Chris C.

      It also wouldn’t hurt for the Yankees to have HEALTH in the rotation as well!

  • http://barackobama.com TurnTwo

    just a friendly reminder, no matter who you support, make sure you go out and vote today.

    • Alan

      Yep, got up early this morning to head to the polls. Ended up sitting on line for a good hour or so, first time I’ve ever seen that in my town. It’s a good thing.

  • Januz

    The biggest problem this team faces is a lack of offense, not pitching. it was not just this season, but it continue for years to come. Abreu and Giambi will be likely be gone (Those two guys collectively knocked in 196 runs, (Which is not easy to replace)), potentially Damon, Nady, and Matsui are gone after 2009, and Jeter after 2010 (Although I would NOT pay him another $20m a season). I would like to accumulate draft picks, and rebuild, but if they elect not to, Teixeira is the place to spend the cash. You can live with a below average outfield of Damon, Nady & Gardner, if Posada comes back healthy, Cano rebounds, and Teixeira is signed.
    There are possible long-term internal options to Teixeira: Jesus Montero, and Brandon Laird. I saw these numbers from RAB, and Laird, and they are impressive.
    Minor League Hitter of the Year: Brandon Laird, 1B/3B/DH, A-
    Almost an afterthought behind Montero, Bradley Suttle and Carmen Angelini in the River Dogs lineup coming into the year, Laird finished with the most homers (21), second most RBI (86) and highest slugging percentage (.498) in the system. Laird capped his campaign for the award with an otherwordly August, a month in which he batted .324-.402-.705 with 7 doubles, 11 homers and 37 RBI in just 29 games. Laird’s defense leaves something to be desired, but his bat will play anywhere.
    If they think this guy (Or Montero) is the real deal, they could elect to bite the bullet this year (Maybe resigning Giambi for a year, instead paying $20m plus for Teixeira), and one of them, could be your first baseman in 2010? This will be very interesting

    • steve (different one)

      see, this is a very reasonable post.

      i agree with your conclusion that Teixeira should be the target.

      no need to be conceding the next 3 seasons on November 4th.

      • Mike Pop

        Agreed you cant not sign Tex just because you have Montero as a special replacement… Everyone here would rather see Montero as a catcher tho right.. That would be something special

        • A.D.

          Plus were talking minimum 3 years until Montero is actually ready, and in 3 that would still be impressive. There will be plenty of roster turnover by then, he can DH, Catch, what have you

        • Troy

          Exactly. I’d say I’m someone who likes the prospects, but you can’t tell me you’d take Montero over a top-3 1B in baseball like Teixeira. You can’t

          Sign Teixeira and settle the rest later.

    • Kay Sturns

      Hopefully, Brandon Laird: Gerald; Luke Greinke: Zach

    • Reggie C.

      Below average Of? Do you defensively or offensively? The bats of Damon and Nady aren’t below average. Damon hits well above league average. Nady should at least be solid at the plate, and if last season wasn’t a fluke, then Nady should be producing above league avg. If 2 of 3 guys are surpassing the median , then the OF can’t be called below avg.

      Defensively? Gardner earns his defensive stripes for his speed, and he should be able to get to all the fly balls Melky got to. Damon still takes good routes to the ball, and now as a corner OF, he should be very solid.

      I do agree that offensive upgrade will be needed after ’09, but the offensive/defense isn’t below-average. Could it be better? Yeah. Definitely. But we’re working to improve a largely positive attribute.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Heh, I agree (for the most part).

      Well said, Januz. We need to address the offense, as only ARod, Jeter, and Cano (and to a lesser degree, Posada) look to be a part of our offensive future going forward. We must add some new impact bats for now and the future.

      But adding CC in addition to whatever we do on offense (like Tex) is still a no-brainer.

    • Peedlum

      Is Brandon Laird related to Gerald?

  • JeffG

    Pitching is so key. If we execute our plans this offseason I’d have to say we’ll be in really good shape. The last couple of years have left me scratching my head with last year the worst of it.
    One thing I do worry about is the much better GM that looks over the ShitSox.
    Tex rumors are really off in my estimation. Their best position prospect would need that spot and they have Lowell and Youk (God I hate that guy more than any player), both more than good enough.
    Now last year they could have trumped us to get Santana. What if Theo was just waiting for the other bigh lefty when he wouldn’t have to surrender Lester?
    CC / Beckett /Lester / Matsuzaka / Wakefield – they have the payroll flexibility to make this happen. I’m not sure why this has not been talked about. I know people think Theo doesn’t spend but thinking about what it could mean for them I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion so fast. Daisuke caught everyone by surprize. They put the money our for Drew… it really would be a nightmare.

    • Mike Pop

      Na CC wont be going there cuz they are racist

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        I’d like to believe you, but I doubt CC wouldn’t go to Boston just because Boston is the most racist city in the Northeast (which it is.) Black athletes go to Boston all the time, as long as the money and the chance to win is there. Which it would be.

        • Mike Pop

          CC will not be a red sock mark my words

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            I agree with you. I just disagree as to why.

      • JeffG

        Brilliant comment.

  • Kay Sturns

    i don’t think you should worry. smoke and mirrors; i doubt boston would want to bid against anaheim, and i really doubt they’d bid against LAA, NYY, BAL, SEA? when it is not a need

  • Januz

    I read that Wallace Matthews article, and it is BEYOND stupid. Not only was the pen the strength of this team (They already have a shut-down closer like Lidge who blew a grand total of ONE save (Against Minnesota), named…….. Mariano Rivera), but low cost, internal options such as Melancon, Venditte, Cox & Sanchez may be available starting in 2009 (Melancon). Which means, that cash, and resources, can be spent in different areas (That is the reason why, they can afford to let Marte go (And collect two draft picks)). In addition, Pat Venditte’s performance at Staten Island allowed them to able to say no to Bittle, and take the replacement draft pick instead.
    What you are seeing right now with Cashman, is a game of poker. They can’t show all of their cards for one reason: The price will go up. This is particularly true with any Boras client (Like Teixeira or Ramirez). Keep in mind, last year with Arod, they refused to give $30m a season, and still, were able to get him back.
    I still think that you may see Teixeira in Pinstripes, but the weeding out process has to happen first (Seeing where Sabathia, and others end up (Particularly Krod. Does he returns to LA, and thus, the Angels, drop out of the Teixeira sweepstakes?)).

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      We didn’t sign Bittle primarily because a post-draft physical said his shoulder was fucked, as Mike noted back in July, and we weren’t going to sign him without him taking a discount, which he wouldn’t do. It had nothing to do with what Pat Venditte did or didn’t do in Staten Island.

      http://riveraveblues.com/2008/08/07/cole-bleich-bittle-updates-3603/

      • Reggie C.

        The non-signing i stomached. the selection? Not so much. The scouting dept can’t fuck up a 3rd round pick. Its one thing if Bittle flamed out due to ineffectiveness. That happens. Its another that Bittle never signed b/c we didn’t do the homework. Didn’t we get brett gardner in the 3rd round three yrs back? There were solid, signable, healthy guys out there.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          FWIW, Bittle was considered the #97th ranked prospect. He had a 16.1 K/9 and pitched 70 innings as a senior with no evidence of injury. We just had no way of knowing that he wasn’t healthy. Taking him at pick #75 isn’t that bad of a pick.

        • Rick in Boston

          The problem with that thinking is that there was no way the Yankees could know before the selection. Because the players are not under contract they can’t be forced to take a physical. Look at what happened with Tim Stauffer and the Padres in the beginning of the decade.

          Scout: You healthy?
          Bittle: Yes.

          That’s it.

          • Chris C.

            There’s a little more to it than that.
            Team’s can absolutely ask for medical histories from kids they’re scouting. If they are turned down, they should consider that a red flag.

            Are you sure there was no history of injuries with Bittle? Because I thought I had read that the Yankees were indeed aware of something, but didn’t think if was as bad as it turned out to be.

            But if the Yankees did in fact get a clean bill of health on the kid, then what can you do? At least they didn’t sign him. Now they get a supplimental pick in the 2009 draft.

  • Joe Kaplan

    Yankees should push hard to get Junichi Tazawa to add depth to their pitching staff and it won’t cost them more then a first round draft pick. It also keeps the possibility of the red sox getting another great japanese player. Tazawa is 22 years old and will have time to develop his stuff in the Yankees organization.