If Moose retires, CC becomes a necessity

Friday evening Hot Stove open thread
Comptroller: Yanks owe $11M in back rent

Joe Torre hosted his annual Safe at Home Foundation dinner last night. While the news out of the annual gathering of Yankee luminaries included much of what we already know, Joe Girardi dropped something of a Mike Mussina bombshell.

As far as the Yankee skipper knows, Mussina will be calling it quits some time soon. While this is information Moose passed onto Girardi at the end of the season, Joe had no reason to expect Moose to change his mind.

For the Yankees, this decision has immediate impact. Moose threw 200.1 innings last year to the tune of a 3.37 ERA. He won 20 games for the first time in his career and was 12th in the AL in VORP for pitchers, trailing James Shields by just a few tenths of a point. In other words, he was the Yankee ace, and while he probably wasn’t going to duplicate these numbers next year, his potential departure leaves a gaping hole in the front end of the Yankee rotation, Andy Pettitte or no Andy Pettitte.

Enter Derek Jeter. It seems that Mr. Jeter is fulfilling his role as captain. As NJ.com’s Ed Price reported a few hours ago, Derek and CC Sabathia had a chat about New York. Derek didn’t go into detail, but it sounds like the two players had a nice talk about coming to New York. Clearly, the recruiting effort is on.

If the Yanks land Sabathia — and that’s a big “if” right now with so many other teams involved — the deal will be fraught with risks. The Yankees will be committing a lot of money and a lot of years to a pitcher who has racked up 1659.1 innings and is just a few months past his 28th birthday. In fact, only 45 other players in the history of the game have thrown more innings by that age. As with any long-term deal, it’s a risk.

I believe that it’s a risk the Yankees have to take. Sabathia would immediately stabilize the Yankee rotation and give them a front-end trio with the potential to be as good as any other team in baseball. How many times would you imagine the Yanks losing three games in a row with Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain throwing in back-to-back-to-back games?

Of course, the Yankees have a lot of competition for Sabathia. He likes the NL; he’s very good at pitching in the NL and seems to enjoy hitting too. He could end up back near his home in Southern California as well. But the Yankees are interested, and they’re going to put the full-court press on. With Mussina out of the pitcher, Sabathia is the ace the Yanks need. Here’s to hoping they can land him.

Friday evening Hot Stove open thread
Comptroller: Yanks owe $11M in back rent
  • pat

    I still think cc is a necessity no matter what.Moose would almost be a luxury, a solid vet presence to get you 200 ip of league average or better while shoring yp the back of your rotation.

    • pat


    • Nick

      I say the Yanks go after C C but forget about Burnett and all the other supposed top of the line guys and go get a guy who is solid in Jon Garland. He may not be the greatest but he goes deep into games and eats innings. With the Yanks offense and a proven track record in t he AL , I would much rather him than a 36 yr Lowe , Injury prone Burnett , National League one year wonder in Dempster or Ben I pitch but breakdown every year Sheets. That being said, I would sign sheets if I get the other two , to a contract much like Maggs signed with Tigers and maybe he goes for it. It would give us depth if we had sheets and joba , to me would equal one starter , C C , Wang, Garland and Andy Dandy. With Hughes , Aceves and others waiting in the wings, this would remind me of the depth we had when we did win titles and not just made it and bowed out in the first round. I hate hearing how the Yankees are done and there will be no more glory days. If you ask me , we are about to embark on some more glory days. We will have 3 legitimate aces in our rotation if we sign C C , Wang and Joba. Not to mention , having Garland and Andy to eat innings at the back end and Hughes as the 6th starter , I’m pretty sure that’s up there with the best starting pitching in the game. I don’t mind Tex, but if we can’t get him , as much as I hate to say it , I would go get Manny, we need a bat to make A-Rod more dangerous. Also, anybody hear about this rumor of Matsui ,Kennedy and another prospect for Bedard ? I wouldn’t mind doing something along those lines. Maybe Bedard will bounce back and have a nice season and he is AL East battle tested. I think this is going to be a great offseason and even better season to watch Yankee Baseball. Yankees in 09′ and Oh Yeah , Boston misses the postseason.

    • mustang

      “I still think cc is a necessity no matter what.Moose ”

      I second that a lot is riding on getting CC.

  • daneptizl

    Sheets over Burnett…

  • Eric

    if andy p is the 4 or 5 that’s a great rotation. 2 bulldog leftys in Yankee stad. Even better

  • bob

    Yikes! Sabathia is the only pitcher on that list who started his career after 1990. This is not good.

    • Rob

      Bah. That’s just indicative of how starting pitchers are used these days. Of course, CC’s innings wouldn’t have been as high if his last two teams didn’t ride him so hard.

      Still, of all those players listed, how many flamed out in their 30s? Just from a quick look, it doesn’t seem as if the percentage is any higher than pitchers who didn’t throw as much in their 20’s. The ones that jump out are Eckersley, Fernando, Gooden, and Saberhagen. Conversely, the ones going the other direction are Maddux, Sutton, Blyleven, and Palmer.

      But that sample also has alot of variance in it. Some guys have 300 more innings than CC. Here’s narrowing it a bit more (between 1600 and 1700 IP, < 27 yo):


      That also brings up Seaver and Carlton. Suffice it to say, if you’re throwing that many innings when you’re young, it means you’re good! More importantly, that you’ve stayed healthy! This one is a no-brainer.

  • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

    Load up the money truck and drive it to his house. This move would not be needed if we had done the right thing last year and gotten Santana.

    • steve (different one)

      if they sign Sabathia and say, trade Hughes for Holliday, this team is going to be a LOT better than if they had “done the right thing”.

      i’m not saying you don’t have a valid argument that they should have gotten Santana, you do.

      but there is more than one way to skin a cat. there isn’t one “right thing”.

      • steve (different one)

        also, good on Jeter for leading the recruiting process.

      • B.George


        • B.George

          to the holliday for hughes trade

          • steve (different one)

            if you say so.

            would help to back that up. but whatever.

            • B.George

              the guys is a product of the stadium…he bats 70 points lower on the road his power also drops on the road…..if you dont trade your best prospect for the best pitcher in the majors its stupid to trade him for not even the best outfielder in the league when we have four corner outfielders already…and austin jackson betances sanchez brackman or melancon will have to be included in the deal with hughes.

              • steve (different one)

                the guys is a product of the stadium

                actually, this is idiotic.

              • steve (different one)

                also, you COMPLETELY missed the point.

                the point was that the Yankees have the potential to make themselves BETTER than they would have been making the Santana trade.

                Holliday + Sabathia is better than just Santana. i don’t really see how this is even debatable.

                when we have four corner outfielders already

                who? i count 2. Nady and Damon. Matsui is no longer an OFer. who else?

                • B.George

                  you totally missed my point as well…..you are going to have to sell the farm to get him…it is not just phil hughes….you will more then likely have to include Austin Jackson and Montero and probably more to get him…..everyone seems to be ignoring his splits which just boggles my mind the guys power and average drops dramitcally when he is not playing in Colardo..corner outfiled is not our biggest problem….i think its a stupid idea to put Nady at first base….makes much more sense to keep Damon and Nady at the corners and try and go after Texiera who we can get with just money and not have to trade any of out top guys and who has expierence playing in the American League.

                  Career Batting Average at home: .357
                  Career Batting Average away: .280

                  Career Sluggin at home: .645
                  Career Slugging away: .454

                  Career OBP at home: .423
                  Career OBP away: .348

                  Career OPS at home:1.068
                  Career OPS away: .803

  • Steve

    “If the Yanks land Sabathia — and that’s a big “if” right now with so many other teams involved ”

    Not according to the GM’s. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnik took a poll of GM’s on a bunch of off season topics, and on the Sabathia question the answer was overwhelmingly Yankees. 12 GM’s picked the Yanks, 1 Angels, 1 Dodgers and 1 wasn’t sure. It would be a HUGE upset if he went anywhere else, not the other way around.


    • YankCrank20

      Of course the GMs said that. The Yanks have $80 million plus coming off the books and Sabathia is a rarity these days (pitcher under 30 entering his prime as a free agent). If I had to take a chance i’d pick the Yankees but at the end of the day CC still has to want to come here. All we know are a bunch of statements from people who aren’t CC so still chalk this signing up to a big “if.”

  • Steve

    “the deal will be fraught with risks. The Yankees will be committing a lot of money and a lot of years to a pitcher who has racked up 1659.1 innings and is just a few months past his 28th birthday. In fact, only 45 other players in the history of the game have thrown more innings by that age. As with any long-term deal, it’s a risk. ”

    I fail to see how that list supports you assertion. That list is a who’s-who of Hall of Fame caliber pitchers. If anything, it shows that great talents tend to log lots of innings at an early age at the MLB level because . . they’re great pitchers. Wheras lesser pitchers may still be logging innings up until that age, but they do so in the minors.

    Innings leaders are almost always the ace of your staff because as the #1, you get the most starts. Look at the innings leaders in any year, and it generally will be a list of the best pitchers in the game at any given time. Especially today, where going to the bullpen at a certain point of a game is just about automatic. The days of the average pitcher with a rubber arm who eats up innings is largely over.

  • The Scout

    It is a risk, but an essential one. The Yankees as a team are built to win now. It will take time for homegrown everyday players to reach the majors, and Jeter, Posada, Damon, Rivera, and A-Rod won’t be around forever. With CC and a healthy Wang and Joba, the team can compete as it retools. it is probable that the last few years of the CC deal will be a poor return on the investment, but if you get 3-4 top-of-rotation seasons from him it will be worth it. And, unlike Santana, you won’t be giving up top prospects to do it.

    • Steve

      There’s always some risk when dealing with pitchers, that goes without saying and I don’t mean to sound dismissive of that. But the best predictor of a pitchers future health is his injury track record (and to a lesser extent, body type) and CC’s is excellent. There’s always a risk that the team that had him in his early 20’s got the best years out of him, but players don’t become free agents until they’ve had 6 years of service, so you’re not going to get many 25 year olds.

      Its just an unrealistic argument. If you oppose CC, in order to be consistent you’d have to oppose signing just about every free agent.

      • The Scout

        Please read what I wrote: I said the risk is one worth assuming.

        • Steve

          I actually wasn’t referring to you. I should have made that more clear.

  • Hitman

    CC is going to need surgery very soon with all the innings he’s thrown. If the yankees offer him a big contract this could turn into the biggest blunder in sports.

  • Elston32

    Both The Scout – & unfortunately Hitman – make good points. But the Yanks rotation as of this minute – especially if lacking Mussina – is a disaster and they need to throw $$$ at the problem. Cashman’s commitment to rebuild from within is currently an easier task offensively than from a pitching standpoint. The possible spectre of Brett Gardner batting 9th while struggling to hit .235 – albeit playing good defense in CF – would be much less problematic than having no semblance of a decent starting rotation.

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

      The Scout makes a good point. Dr. Hitman is making an uninformed sweeping generalization. Unless he’s actually seen Sabathia’s MRI results and knows something the rest of us do not, he can’t say that Sabathia is going to need surgery soon. Plenty of pitchers throw many innings without surgery.

      • Elston32

        You make a good point!

        • steve (different one)

          also, everyone seems to forget that Santana ALSO had question marks at the end of last season.

          his velocity was down. he had stopped throwing his slider. and he was giving up more HRs than he ever had.

          there are risks with every pitcher.

      • B.George

        yeah how do you know someone is going to need surgery soon when the guy never had arm problem in his life….the guy can jus have a rubber arm and could throw a lot of innings…..jus to say someone is going to need surgery because they throw a lot of innings is like someone saying joba needs to be in the bullpen because he had tendinitis when he was starting thats for you posada

      • Hitman

        Not really, Ben. As far as I can tell I don’t know of one pitcher who has survived without injury or needing surgery after going back to back 250+ inning seasons in the modern era especially with the amount of pitches CC throws per game. There’s always a price to pay. If you want to say that CC will defy medical history because he’s such a a physical specimen that’s obviously your prerogative. I’m not aware of any secret training program he may be on to maintain his health where every other pitcher has failed. Ten hot dogs a day perhaps?

        • steve (different one)

          counting the postseason, Pettitte threw back to back 250+ inning seasons in 1996 and 1997. then followed that up with 235 innings in 1999 and 2000.

          • steve (different one)

            sorry, “1998 and 2000”.

            the point is, Pettitte threw 250+ in 1996 and 1997 and threw 190+ innings in 9 out of the next 11 seasons.

            so, you obviously didn’t look very hard for your example.

            • Hitman

              Ah but how many pitches did he average per game in those high inning years? There is a big difference between getting it done on curveballs and cutters and then coming out after 95 pitches as opposed to throwing as hard as you can at 95 mph for up to 125 pitches a game like CC.

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

        “The Scout makes a good point. Dr. Hitman is making an uninformed sweeping generalization. “

        Remember, Hitman’s posts are pretty much for he intelligent fans. If you didn’t understand it/disagreed with it, it means you’re not intelligent.

  • nick blasioli

    cc can handle the innings…when the yankees sign him,,his innings total will be toned down and not over used as he once was…our bullpen is alot better now and cc will have more rest…we need tex..signed as well….please….

    • RichYF

      I agree. The question on everyone’s mind, however is: Has the damage already been done?

      It’s obvious that the Yanks will not need him to go on 3 days rest or go for 9 innings every time out. But he has done that for a couple of years already. I’m worried, but it wouldn’t keep me from pulling the trigger that’s for sure.

      • steve (different one)

        But he has done that for a couple of years already.

        3 weeks = couple of years?

        since 2001, Sabathia has made a grand total of……FOUR starts on 3 days rest.

  • RollingWave

    it’s a risk that the Yankees need and should take

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    I looks like Melvin Croussett has earned a new nickname while pitching for the tryout team against his teammates.

    “Asesino de los Sueños”

  • Joseph M

    CC is a must for the Yanks, Mussiana to me is not an issue. If Mussiana came back and he went 10-11 4.80 would anyone be shocked. The window on this era is closing fast Mariano grows older each year and retooling behind the plate, shortstop, left field (and maybe even right who really knows about Nady) is just around the corner. Let’s try to get a ring or two before we reach the rebuilding badlands.

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

      “Mussiana”? Really?

      Is all this shit really this hard?