Amid injuries, starting pitchers must step up

Jorge Posada to the DL
Losing late vs. losing early

The point of the Yankees spending almost $250 million on the starting rotation this past off-season was to shore up a glaring weakness from the past few years. Not only has their starting pitching been mediocre in terms of runs allowed, but they’ve also been in the bottom third in innings pitched for the past two years. Starting pitching was a huge priority, and the Yankees brass delivered. Yet through the first month of the season we’ve barely seen a difference from 2007 and 2008. They rank 19th in the league in starter innings pitched, and 26th in starter ERA to this point. This is obviously not what Brian Cashman and Co. had in mind.

The pitching situation hurts that much more because of injuries to offensive starters. Heading into the season the Yankees were already short their best hitter for at least month. Then their second best hitter succumbed to a wrist injury which has limited his ability to drive the ball. Then their starting right fielder partially tore his UCL and was almost lost for the season. Then the guy with balky knees started having knee issues. Then the starting catcher, whose absence was a detriment to the offense last year, tweaked his hammy. That is almost half the starting lineup either missing time or suffering because of injury. Sure, Hideki has recovered for now, but when a guy who has had surgery on both knees builds up fluid in the season’s first month, it’s not a good sign.

The thinking upon hearing of A-Rod‘s injury was that the starting rotation was so much improved that the team could survive without him for a month. Yet that has not been the case at all. The pitching, as mentioned, hasn’t at all lived up to expectations, while the offense ranks fourth in the league in runs scored (and essentially tied for second in runs per game). The Yankees starters also get the second best run support in the league. If Posada misses significant time, it’s an easy bet that the Yanks offense won’t keep up that pace. If the team is going to keep their heads above water they’re going to need the starters to step up big time.

This means that the starters must go deeper into games so as to not leave the bullpen exposed. This also has the benefit of returning to a 12-man pitching staff (ideally 11, but that’s a pipe dream right now), allowing the team to add a bat like Juan Miranda to pinch hit for the anemic bottom of the order. Not to mention that starters going deep into games for the most part means they’re pitching well. Even with the injuries the Yanks offense can muster three or four runs most games. If they have starters pitching deep they can steal a few of those wins.

Starters stepping up and going deep into games won’t fix the injury and ineffectiveness issues the Yankees have faced this year, but it will provide a much-needed band-aid. It’s what they were expected to do all season, and it’s time that they started doing it. Now more than ever, when the team has had a few weaknesses exposed. What better way to mask a weakness, after all, than playing to your strengths?

Jorge Posada to the DL
Losing late vs. losing early
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

    Dude, by the sound of your post it’s a miracle we’re 13-12.

    Okay, so maybe it is a miracle, but that’s totally not the point!

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Then… What IS the point?

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    No one talks much about this, so I may be the only person fixated on this I know, but I think our pitching has a shocking laugh of toughness. Too many big innings against and early exits by pitchers who, pretty much uniformly, should be perfoming much better. There’s been a noticeable lack of development by our younger pitchers at the major league level. To me, a huge part of this problem is Dave Eiland. He hasn’t been what we hoped he would be, and I think his exit should be imminent at this point.

    I’m not trying to get the responsibiliy off the guys who, ultimately, get out there and give up the long ball. I just expect more out of every single one of these guys and think we’re thinking too micro instead of micro.

    Feel free to agree or disagree.

    • AJ

      Another major issue has been the walks. The Yankees pitchers not only gave up 11 hits last night, but they walked 8 batters. That’s 19 baserunners in total! It’s no wonder why they’re giving up so many runs and their ERA (especially the bullpen) is a mess. The pitchers need to start bearing down and making some quality pitches. It seems like every pitcher walks at least one guy an inning. All that does is extend the innings and pitch counts, and it’s why guys like Phranchise and Joba have only went four and five innings.

      Overall, their efficiency needs to improve. To me, the pitchers have seeminly been battling 2-1 and 3-0 counts through the first month. They need to be aggressive and get ahead of the hitters.

    • thurdonpaul

      fair or not, i have been wondering about our pitching coach too

      • Frank

        Funny you mention that. I was wondering the other day what became of Leo Mazzone? I wouldn’t mind seeing him sitting on the bench rocking back and forth as long as he can work wonders with the staff.

        • andrew

          Wasn’t Mazzone with the O’s? Or is he gone now?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            O’s fired him after 2007. He’s a color commentator for FOX now.

            Personally, I’d love to throw dumptrucks full of money at Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, who’s been Tony LaRussa’s lieutenant for the past few decades. His pitching staffs in Oakland and St. Louis are littered with Cy Young winners and he’s constantly pulled guys off the scrap heap and rebuilt them into great starters.

            Sadly, I don’t think anything pries him away from LaRussa, not even the chance to coach his son Shelley. (Meaning we’d have to fire Girardi and hire LaRussa… which may not be a bad idea, all things considered.)

            • Stephen

              Also, his son Chris Duncan is on the Cardinals.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Yeah, but we all know Shelley’s the cool one. When did Chris ever sign some kid’s baseball with the words “Cubs SUCK!”

                • Chris

                  Of course, we could call up Shelley and trade for Chris. That might be enough to get him.

                  The downside being that our team would then have both Chris and Shelley Duncan…

    • V

      So, Dave Eiland told CC and AJ to start sucking?

      As for Joba and Phil, did you expect vintage Clemens and Roy Halladay on day 1? Day 2? If they aren’t there by day 10, it’s because Dave Eiland sucks?

      • AJ

        I don’t think we’re saying that, but these guys shouldn’t be struggling as badly as they have. Most of the pitchers have six starts under their belts, and CC and AJ having two quality starts between them is surprising. I know CC struggles early, but if these continue then you have to look at other factors, including coaching.

      • MattG

        I wonder if Dave Eiland is off-message. Maybe it is just a small sample size, but these pitchers have been giving up too many crooked numbers in the early going. That could be mental, and maybe Eiland is too focused on mechanics.

        I don’t know, I can’t really explain what is in my head. I am not one that things a whole lot of Ra-Ra! is helpful in baseball, but these pitchers do seem soft. Something in this comment makes sense to me.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Maybe….maybe not….but you’re identifying an awful lot of grey areas. Should our young pitchers be further along in their development? I happen to think that, like you, I’m not expecting 20-win seasons out of them at this point, they don’t look like very different pitchers than they did when we first brought them up.

        While I don’t exactly think that CC and AJ are sucking up the joint, they also, especially CC, don’t exactly look like they were ready to start the season, not just in April, but right now. Don’t even get me started on the handling of Wang…

        I also think our bullpen should be better than the numbers they’re putting up……correction: they are actually better. I think Girardi has left them up there to die too often, but this is a crew with good stuff who got the job done. This shouldn’t be happening.

        Our staff did not look ready to start the season, and they still don’t look ready.

        I miss Ron Guidry right about now. Looking at a picture of Mel Stottelmyre may just bring me to tears. :)

        • MattG

          Well, we know Wang wasn’t ready to start the season. Based solely on velocity, I don’t think Joba was, either. CC, Pettitte and Burnett do not need a pitching coach at all.

          But where the real issue lies is with the bullpen. Who in this bunch looks ready to go and attack themselves some hitters?

          Look, when the results are bad, it is easy to blame the approach–it is awful hard to look in control as a pitcher when the count’s 2-0. This bunch might just need a little success to get the bravado flowing.

          • AJ

            If there’s any good signs, it’s been CC’s last two starts. Sure, he gave up four runs in each. But he’s looked solid and he’s had more control of his pitches. But it’s been the small flashes here and there. I don’t expect Joba to go 7+ every fifth night, but I think we’re not unrealistic to expect at least five solid innings from this rotation night in and night out.

    • MattG

      The comments by Coke the other day had me thinking the same thing. Coke spoke his mind, but he is not a veteran by any means. He should have no pre-conceptions about anything, and be ready for all of it.

      Couple this with the analysis of the bullpen’s failures in blowouts, and, if you care to ignore sample sizes, there is something to look at here.

      • Evan

        I do think that they need to be prepared to get in there at any given time, but the truth is they aren’t. It’s the same thing for a pinch hitter. He knows that around the 7th or 8th innings he is going to have to come in and get a base hit or whatever. If you take that mental preparation out of his game, it’s over. I think the same mental prep applies to the bullpen. If you know you are coming in in the 7th inning to hold a lead, then that’s what you are prepared for. We have too many guys out there who may be brought in in the 4th or the 7th. I mean, the only guy I know who will be warming up at this point is Mo. It’s a different guy each game. There needs to be some consistency. Even if you say Veras and Albie are clean-up men for now, fine, at least they will know that they are the clean up men.

  • Frank

    It really comes down to CC, Burnett and Pettitte giving them length since Joba and Hughes have an innings limit for the season. The three veterans needs to consistently give the Yanks 7+ innings per start.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      And I think this will happen once they all start getting into grooves. I just hope that the offense doesn’t disappear if/when that happens.

      • Frank

        I think the offense will be fine. My concern is the expectation from some (or many) that A-Rod will instantly start hitting the cover off the ball when he returns, when he essentially will be going through an accelerated spring training.

        • AJ

          Good point. A-Rod may not be the savior everyone is looking for. It would be nice for him to come back and hit, though. If Tex can heat up a little bit and Swisher can find his groove at home, at least A-Rod won’t be expected to be the savior. We’ll all want to see three home runs a game instead of two.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          I do, too, if Posada is only out for 15 days. If he’s out for longer, the offense could be in trouble A-Rod probably won’t be 100%, Matsui could start to get cold, as could Cano/Swisher.

        • Drew

          Alex will mash.

          • Evan

            Agreed. Putting his bat in the lineup gets Tex better pitches. The dominoes will fall into place once he is back. Even if he doesn’t come out and mash, his presence alone changes the way you pitch to that lineup.

  • http://www.wiredtowns.com Short Porch

    If the Yanks continue to scuffle on the mound, you will start to hear the Fire Eiland chant.

    It would be a vintage Steinbrenner move on the manager (Girardi) as well.

  • David

    I couldn’t agree more with this post. It is worth mentioning that many of the injuries are to older players as our lineup has become dependent on some aging players. In addition, am I the only one to notice that the hungrier players without 7-10 year contracts (Swisher) are the ones who seem to perform beyond expectations (Jeter is a notable exception to this)? Bottom line, those who are uninjured need to step up. I hope CC reads this.

    • UWS

      Yes, David, you are the first person, ever, to notice that Yankees rely on older players. Well done.

      And I’m sure that Teixeira really enjoys hearing the boos after he hits yet another pop-up to the second baseman. Because, hey, he’s got his big payday already. And CC battles out there for 6+ innings and 120 pitches because he doesn’t give a crap.

      Give me a freakin’ break.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        Preach! Preach!

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

        Amen sistah

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        if anything, guys like CC and Tex feel it more.

        it’s interesting that i never got the feeling from any of the guys we brought in as free agents that they weren’t concerned about starting slow because they just assumed they’d win eventually. these like have looked pissed at themselves every time things haven’t gone their way. i actually don’t get that feeling from some of the others.

        ESPN Radio just reported that Kevin Cash is getting the call-up, FWIW.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          ESPN Radio just reported that Kevin Cash is getting the call-up, FWIW.

          Blech.

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

          Thought he was hurt?

        • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

          MLB.com’s Yankees beat writer, Bryan Hoch, says it’s Cervelli on his Twitter.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        And I’m sure that Teixeira really enjoys hearing the boos after he hits yet another pop-up to the second baseman. Because, hey, he’s got his big payday already.

        You know what really grinds my gears? Idiot Yankee fans.

        Hey, Mark Teixeira’s up, he’s had two home runs tonight and damn near singlehandedly kept us in this game. Hopefully he can get a hit here, that would be awesome.

        (no hit)

        BOOOOOOOOOOO, YOU FUCKHOLE, YOU SUCK, I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!

        …aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

        • Nady Nation

          Two solo shots? To respectively make it a one run game, and then a two run game? That’s really supposed to get us excited? How about a game winning hit in the clutch for once! Tex is just a stat padder, plain and simple. Him and Bitch Tits should have fun battling it out for the Most Meaningless Homers title this season.

          • AJ

            Tex’s two shots showed some promise last night:

            1. His wrist is getting healthier, and maybe he’s finally going to start heating up.
            2. He kept the Yankees in the game. You said it yourself, it made it a one run and two run game. Yes, he struck out against a good closer in the clutch. But he was able to keep the Yankees hanging around. Don’t blame the loss on just him – Melky and Molina struck out with runners on first and third and one out, and the Yankees struggled to plate RISP.

            • MattG

              Molina’s passed ball and some tough ball/strike calls for Hughes didn’t help. And Nick Green absolutely stole a single that would’ve become a run. That’s baseball.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            WTF? Yes Teix shouldn’t hit for the HR. He should have K’ed. Your logic overwhelms me. He is a selfish bastard for helping his team. Perfect and untouchable logic right there. All he cares is the money MIRITE?!?!?!?!?

            • Nady Nation

              Wow, should’ve made my sarcasm MUCH clearer I guess. For what it’s worth, Tex is my favorite baseball player, and I was thrilled with his 2 homers last night, as I think it could be a sign of him finally snapping out of his rut and exploding this month. I would never boo him, ever, let alone in the same game where he hit 2 freekin home runs. My apologies for not providing enough exclamation points to express the sarcasm. Me = fail.

              • jsbrendog

                and therein lies the reason for the much maligned “!1!!!111!11!” because ppl’s sarcasm/joke meters are broken. hell mine screwed me just the othe rday…not enough 1s and !s

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                For what it’s worth, Tex is my favorite baseball player…

                Xavier Nady is rolling over in his platelet-rich-plasma solution right now.

                • Nady Nation

                  Touche. I love X, but in the likeable, above-average role player type way.

        • Stephen

          My stupid Red Sox fan housemate said the HRs were meaningless and it shows nothing and I almost punched him in the face.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Almost? Why the hell didn’t you? Punching him in the face probably has a 50-50% shot of curing him of his terminal dumbness.

            • Stephen

              I didn’t want to embarrass him in front of his girlfriend.

              • dkidd

                you should have punched him, then injected platelets into his face to help the healing process

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                If his girlfriend is dating a Sox fan, she’s already embarrassed. Little more won’t hurt.

                http://www.instantrimshot.com

          • Chris

            What it means should be more important for Lester than for Tex. Lester has given up 7 HR in 37 innings this year after giving up only 14 in 210 innings last year.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      And even so our roster has gotten significantly younger compared to last year. By average someone here said we’re 2 years older than the Rays.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      It is worth mentioning that many of the injuries are to older players as our lineup has become dependent on some aging players.

      Yankee disabled list:

      60-day:
      Cody Ransom (age 33)

      15-day:
      Brian Bruney (age 27)
      Chien-Ming Wang (age 29)
      Xavier Nady (age 30)
      ARod (age 33)
      Damaso Marte (age 34)
      Jorge Posada (age 37)

      Minor leagues:
      Ian Kennedy (age 24)

      Sorry, Posada is the only “older” player who’s injured. ARod’s borderline, I guess, but he doesn’t really have an injury history, this hip flareup came out of nowhere.

      The other older players that our lineup is depending on, namely, Damon, Jeter, and Matsui… they’re all healthy and playing well.

      • AJ

        I don’t agree with the “older injuries” arguement, but it’s worth mentioning that:

        Matsui always seems one day away from waking up and finding fluid in his knee, and Damon is battling a shoulder injury which will probably only get worse.

        They look good now, but Girardi also has to be smart with their playing time.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          but Girardi also has to be smart with their playing time.

          Until Alex, Jorge and Nady come back, that’s tough to do. You could be looking at a Melky, Molina, Pena & Gardner bottom of the order. Yikes!

          • A.D.

            Or just needs Damon to not run into a wall, especially if he’s not going to make the catch.

  • MattG

    I say bring up the son of Mo, Jesus Montero!

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

      Montero’s at A, and left last night with an injury.

      • MattG

        You doubt his divinity, then? You must be more Mo-fearing!

  • Jake K

    Has anyone else read the Pinstripe Bible today? He’s venting his spleen about the Yankees’ failure to get a good back up catcher this offseason. While I am a big Cashmoney fan, I tend to agree. Seems to me the Yanks should have operated on the assumption that an injury to Posada was likely, rather than hoping he would make it through the season unscathed.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Molina is the best back-up catcher in the m-f-ing league!

      Blame Cash for what you want, but back up catcher isn’t one of them.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        I’m with SDW on this one. Molina is probably the finest back up in the league.

      • Jake K

        Yes, Molina is a good back-up catcher for a standard back-up role: a game or so a week, occasional late inning defensive replacement. Goldman’s argument is that the Yanks should have considered that they would need an alternative to Posada for an extended period. Molina’s bat doesn’t play as a starter and, given how competitive this division is, can really cost the team if JoPo is out for a while.

        Also, calm down.

        • Jeremy

          Did he suggest who this replacement would be? It’s hard to imagine the Yankees would trade for a catcher better than Molina (which would be a costly move) unless they knew (rather than just feared) that Posada would not be able to play regularly.

          Last year Cashman traded Farnsworth for Pudge, and even Pudge turned out to be a big disappointment.

          It’s not easy to find a good backup catcher and it’s really really tough to find a good everyday catcher.

          • Jake K

            He listed a bunch of names, none of whom are particularly impressive. And your point is a good one. But I wonder if the Yanks should have made it a greater priority, worth even trading some of the teams’ minor league pitching depth. It seems like they spent a ton of money this offseason on the rotation and elsewhere, then crossed their fingers with a 37-year-old catcher who missed 111 games last year.

            • jsbrendog

              with a lineup of jeter damon tex arod matsui swisher cano nady molinas bat does not make that big of a difference.

              now thanks to injuries it does. so yes, you are right, cashman sucks because he shouldve foreseen nady, posada, arod getting injured and posadas hamstring (hamstring?11?!11!?!1?!) and damon and matsui and tex and swisher all having issues (mats knee, swish elbow i think where he got hit, damon shoulder form playing to hard [he obv sucks for playing so hard]) i mean come on dude.

        • Tampa Yankee

          Then who should they have got? He was already under contract and there are reasons they are BACK-UPS to begin with they are only good for a standard back-up role: a game or so a week, occasional late inning defensive replacement. If they were better than that, they would be a starting catcher.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Losing Posada isn’t going to make us lose every game…
          Our offense has been improved greatly from last year. We can actually afford it and I especially love how to use Molina’s weakness and not mention his excellent defense.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Molina is the best back-up catcher in the m-f-ing league!

        Agreed. The problem with Pinstripe Bible’s argument is
        1) Molina is better than he’s portrayed, because he has a ton of defensive value, and

        2) Nobody better than Molina would have signed here to be Posada’s backup, and trading valuable pieces from the farm in order to achieve a marginal upgrade at backup catcher over Molina (who, again, is not that bad in the first place) would be a dumb strategy that would leave our club weaker. Sure, we could have traded Hughes for Saltalamacchia, but Saltalamacchia may never have played (since Jorge getting injured was NOT a foregone conclusion) and Hughes is way more important to this team’s success than the backup catcher is. I have yet to see an alternative to the backup catcher solution that is either a) possible, b) an actual improvement over what we have now, or c) doesn’t involve us overpaying in valuable prospects for a good catcher who may not even play that much.

        • Jake K

          1) I agree his defense makes him valuable. But if his defense made him so valuable that his bat was irrelevant, he would starting.

          2) Is this really true? The Yankee dollars, opportunity to win a ring, a possibly of extended playing team given the questionable health of JoPo–you don’t think that was enticing to anyone?

          • Clayton

            Is this really true? The Yankee dollars, opportunity to win a ring, a possibly of extended playing team given the questionable health of JoPo–you don’t think that was enticing to anyone?

            But how would you start the season? Three catchers on the roster all being well paid or trying to convince someone to start the year in AAA on the chance they will get called up.

            And how do we know the Yankees did not try this route and no one they liked accepted? Cashman has tried to hide rehab relief pitchers in the minors so I doubt the idea of catcher didn’t come to his mind. However, anyone good enough for that position would prefer the guarantee of being on a ML roster.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              That’s the point.

              Everybody likes the idea of adding another good catcher to the roster as Posada insurance in the abstract. Nobody has yet presented and actual, physical, tangible real way of making this happen.

              As you said yourself, Jake,

              He listed a bunch of names, none of whom are particularly impressive.

              Adding another catcher in the abstract = a good idea
              Actually adding another catcher = no appealing possiblities

          • dkidd

            cashman signed posada to a 4 year deal. he was obviously willing to cross his fingers

            the dumber move was assuming gardner and melky could bridge the gap to ajax and not getting cameron. a team in the al east, even one with great starting pitching, can’t have two black holes in the line-up. trade for cameron, then even if posada goes down, molina bats 9th and shuts down the running game while everyone else does the hitting.

            this is all predicated on my belief that melky will start qualifying as a black hole very soon. hopefully he proves me wrong

            • steve (different one)

              the Yankees are on pace to score 948 runs without A-Rod.

              the problem has not been the failure to get Mike Cameron, even though i was was very much in support of doing to.

              the problem has been PITCHING.

              and PITCHING.

              oh, and PITCHING.

              all of this other shit is noise. OH NOES CASHMAN DIDN’T STASH SALTALAMACCHIA IN AAA!!!!

              • Chris

                Not to mention trading Hughes for Salty would have hurt out biggest issue so far…

        • Zack

          1) What exactly is that defensive value? Throwing guys out? Well, lots of analysis has been run showing that Molina’s woeful offense more than mitigates that. Stopping passed balls/wild pitches? Doesn’t really do that great a job of that. Calling a good game? Only Jason Varitek gets credit for that.

          The notion that Molina is so great because of his defensive value rests almost wholly on his ability to throw runners out, and totally ignores the fact that his offensive ineptitude is far greater.

          2) The notion that trading for a backup catcher is impossible or stupid is also misguided. If you trade for a younger catcher, the assumption is that for this year and next, he splits time with Jorge, and by the third year, like Posada with Girardi, he takes over the majority of the catching. The Yankees should be using their $ to have the luxury of preparing for the likely scenario of Posada being injured, which has happened barely a month into the season already. You don’t have to trade Hughes to get a serviceable backup at the very least.

          Backup catcher has been a weakspot on the Yankees for a long time, and now when they need it the most, they should simply sit back and accept that nobody would want to play as a backup and hope to God the Posada doesn’t get hurt and that Molina’s “defensive value” cancels out the negative space of his bat? That’s just not a good way to build a competitive team, and is what keeps allowing fans to say “well, if it weren’t for this injury and that injury things would have been different…”

          • Jake K

            I entirely agree. Especially as every non-Yankee fan I’ve read (including RAB fave Keith Law) says that Montero is not going to stick behind the plate.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            1) I agree. That’s the point: Molina sucks offensively but is good defensively, making him a wash. Having a backup catcher who is a wash is a GOOD THING, because most teams employ backup catchers who are holistic negative impacts rather than holistic neutral impacts. Shit, many teams employ STARTING catchers who are holistic negative impacts rather than holistic neutral impacts. Molina’s got a 77 OPS+ and good defense. That’s better than a handful of catchers currently starting in the major leagues right now. You need look no further than tonight’s opponent to see a team that Molina could start for right now and improve their team immensely.

            2) These good young catchers you speak of trading for require us giving up our good prospects. Sorry, I’m not trading Hughes or Cano for Saltalamacchia, even if I don’t have Montero and Romine already in the system as the long-term answer at catcher. Bad Idea Jeans. Please show me some of these catchers you think we should have traded for, and what you think it would have taken to trade for them.

            • Zack

              1) No you missed my point. My point is that Molina is in fact NOT a wash and is a major detriment. Again, what is this good defense you speak of? The arm? Because as I said, that doesn’t make up for his bat. DOESN’T.

              2) Montero and Romine are far away from being in the ML, and while I think Montero will remain a catcher, that is the minority opinion. By a lot. You can’t sit on your ass and hope for guys in A+ ball to evolve into starters in 3 years while the major league team suffers for it. In the BEST CASE SCENARIO, in three years one of those two guys are ready to share full time catching duties, but the chances of that aren’t great.

              The Yankees have a surplus of minor league RHP. Some of that could have been turned into an insurance policy against what we are seeing now and a future starter/time splitter with Montero/Romine. Instead, we are stuck watching Molina hit well below average with literally no acceptable fall back…

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                The Yankees have a surplus of minor league RHP. Some of that could have been turned into an insurance policy against what we are seeing now and a future starter/time splitter with Montero/Romine. Instead, we are stuck watching Molina hit well below average with literally no acceptable fall back…

                No, it couldn’t have.

                Please show me the catcher we are going to acquire who is better than Molina with all of this minor league RHP depth.

                The Diamondbacks aren’t giving us Miguel Montero for IPK, Eric Hacker, George Kontos, and Ryan Zink. They’re not. The only catchers we could have acquired with our “surplus” of RHP would be guys who are just as good as Jose Molina.

                Please, show me a name of a catcher I’m overlooking that fits your narrative. Please, show me where I’m wrong, I beg of you.

                • Zack

                  Yes, it could have. I know that you think that if you say something it makes it right, but, um, that’s not how it works. You have failed to actually explain how Molina is remotely acceptable beyond “defensive value” which is an unsubstantiated claim based, as far as I can tell, on the fact that he throws runners out and in a small sample size pitchers have a better era with him catching thus far this season.

                  Migue Montero has been offered for a ML reliever and a solid prospect. Perhaps IPk doesn’t get that done. perhaps it has to be someone better, but he could be had. Bryan Anderson could be had.

                  Look at what the Indians did with Shoppach. They had no need for him at the time, but acquired him with the idea that Martinez probably wouldn’t stick behind the plate.

                  My point is that its stupid to hope for the best case and least likely scenario (Posada healthy) and a far away future potential (Montero/Romine) and suffer through really really bad production (Molina) and simply offer the excuse that “well, we probably couldn’t have gotten anyone anyway.” that is pretty much bad baseball GM 101.

                  AS you would say, Yes, it is.

                • steve (different one)

                  Migue Montero has been offered for a ML reliever and a solid prospect.

                  so why didn’t the Sox make this happen?

                  and where are you pulling this from? and who are the prospect/reliever?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  You have failed to actually explain how Molina is remotely acceptable beyond “defensive value” which is an unsubstantiated claim based, as far as I can tell, on the fact that he throws runners out and in a small sample size pitchers have a better era with him catching thus far this season.

                  For 2008, Molina was top 5 or top 10 in stolen base against percentage, most assists per inning, fewest errors and passed balls per inning, catching ERA, all sorts of other catching stats He’s an excellent backstop who rarely fails to catch/block the ball, totally shuts down a team’s running game, and seems to catch games where his pitchers have a lower ERA than the rest of his peers. There’s not a runs above or below average for catchers stat that I’m privy to, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see that Molina is a good 30 runs above average over 150 games. Maybe more. He’s a defensive catching savant. And that’s not in a small sample size, that’s over 737 innings last year.

                  Miguel Montero has been offered for a ML reliever and a solid prospect. Perhaps IPk doesn’t get that done. perhaps it has to be someone better, but he could be had.

                  It wasn’t an ML reliever and a solid prospect, it was an ML reliever and a FUTURE ACE PROSPECT. Huge difference. Yes, he could be had. No, it would have cost too much.

                  Look at what the Indians did with Shoppach. They had no need for him at the time, but acquired him with the idea that Martinez probably wouldn’t stick behind the plate.

                  The Indians traded Coco Crisp, who was a young stud CF at the time, for prospects. Shoppach and Andy Marte were two of the top prospects the Sox had at the time. Apples and oranges.

                  My point is that its stupid to hope for the best case and least likely scenario (Posada healthy) and a far away future potential (Montero/Romine) and suffer through really really bad production (Molina) and simply offer the excuse that “well, we probably couldn’t have gotten anyone anyway.” that is pretty much bad baseball GM 101.

                  No, bad baseball GM 101 would have been overpaying for a THIRD catcher by trading away a future ace BEFORE we have a defined and ACTUAL need for a third catcher. By your logic we’re fools for not trading for Aubrey Huff in the spring to be our emergency DH since there was a good chance Hideki Matsui would miss time this year.

                  THAT’S bad baseball GM 101.

              • Chris

                Would you trade Hughes for Saltalamachia? That’s the type of trade you’re talking about for an upgrade at backup C.

                Sure, if Cashman could get Russell Martin for Jose Veras, then you make the deal, but that’s not happening.

          • Chris

            2) The notion that trading for a backup catcher is impossible or stupid is also misguided.

            No it’s not. The Red Sox resigned Jason Varitek and his 73 OPS+ because they could not find a better catcher available in a reasonable trade. If the Red Sox couldn’t find a better catcher to be a starter, what makes you think the Yankees could find one to be a third string catcher?

            • Zack

              Oh, but they could, they just chose not to. There is a big difference between a starting catcher and someone to share the load and not suck to high heaven with the bat. They could have traded for Salty, but didn’t. They are also waiting to try and sign Mauer, which according to the above logic, the Yankees shouldn’t do because of Montero/Romine.

              The Red Sox also have Geroge Kottaras, who despite not being great and being off to a bad start, has a far better chance of being productive than Molina does/ever did.

              There are plenty of catchers the Yankees could, in theory, have acquired if they were willing to trade for one, for the right price. What is more important to the Yankees, a replacement for Posada who doesn’t suck, or more RHP depth?

              • steve (different one)

                There are plenty of catchers the Yankees could, in theory, have acquired if they were willing to trade for one, for the right price.

                name the catcher, name the price.

                that’s all anyone is asking.

                i don’t understand your point about Kotteras. the Sox traded for him in 2006. what does he have to do with the Yankees?

                • Zack

                  Um, that is the point. The Sox traded for him in 2006 with full knowledge that Varitek was fading. They traded for him to do exactly what he is doing, sharing the load with Varitek. Just as the Yanks traded for Girardi to share the load with Posada. The Yankees, meanwhile, not only traded away their ML ready catcher in Navarro, but have sat on their hands and not been proactive about finding someone to at the very least provide adequate replacement level production until, hopefully, their young kids come up. Drafting a high schooler and international free agent who are years away while your catcher breaks down doesn’t really count as addressing an imminent concern.

                  The Yankees, with one of the best scouting departments, more money than anyone else, an aging roster, and a commitment to youth (supposidly) have no excuse whatsoever for throwing out Jose Molina as a starter now and suffering through the results.

                  You can argue all you want that there weren’t any names linked to the Yankees or that the price is/was too high, but the point remains that the Yankees have consistently failed to fill this need and have been burnt two years in a row now.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Burnt two years in a row because THERE ARE NO DESIRABLE OR REALISTICALLY FEASIBLE ALTERNATIVES.

                  You still ignore this point. What else did you want us to do? Please, give us a name.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                They could have traded for Salty, but didn’t.

                And that’s because the Rangers asked for Clay Buchholz. The Sox trading Buchholz for a starting catcher who isn’t even that good of a catcher should tell you how impossible it is for the Yankees to trade for and upgrade over Molina without getting raped in the process.

                There are plenty of catchers the Yankees could, in theory, have acquired if they were willing to trade for one, for the right price.

                NAME. THEM. PLEASE.

                • Zack

                  ANY ONE. Seriously, any catcher. You just have to be willing to pay the price. You don’t have to give up Hughes, but you do have to gie up value. Even if as your dream seems to insist is a reality, that both Yankee catching prospects and every RHP in the low minors pans out, the Yankees won’t have room for them and thats 4 years off. Meanwhile, the team is suffering at the major league level NOW, and did so last year too. And will continue to do so. Sure, in a perfect world, Molina could do only so much damage, but of coruse, that perfect world doesn’t exist, and you have to get used to the idea that this is a team that gets injured a lot. Hoping that Matsui, Jeter, Posada, Damon, Nady, ARod, Burnett, Joba, Hughes, Mo, and Bruney are going to all make it through the season healthy and/or not miss major playing time is just a bad way to approach the season. In all likelihood, you are talking about Molina AND a backup SS AND a backup something else.

                  This team simply cannot afford to throw the garbage that is Molina out to the plate every day for an extended period of time. It has and will continue to cost them, and no amount of potential RHP 3-4 years away will make that better.

                  Sometimes you need to overpay to win.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  ANY ONE. Seriously, any catcher… Sometimes you need to overpay to win.

                  If this is your argument, here’s the response:

                  If we’re going to have to overpay to get a replacement for Posada when he goes down, we should DELAY THAT OVERPAYING AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, since it might not be necessary at all.

                  If we have to give up Hughes to get Posada’s replacement (which is still TITANICALLY DUMB, but whatever) then we shouldn’t trade Hughes until it’s clear that we need a replacement for Posada in the ACTUAL REAL SENSE (like, now) and not the THEORETICAL POSSIBLE SENSE (like, two months ago.)

                  Because, in your proposal, we’re giving away a month of Hughes for a month of Saltalamacchia that we DIDN’T NEED UNTIL THIS VERY SECOND. I’d rather have that month of Hughes. You should rather have it too.

              • Chris

                As I mentioned above, you would trade Hughes for Salty? To get an upgrade over Molina, Cashman would have to give up something good, not just a bunch of spare parts.

    • Jeremy

      I haven’t read the article, but we do have a good backup catcher – Molina.

      It would not have been easy for the Yankees to upgrade at backup catcher.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Molina is great in terms of defense. We have a much better Cano, a better Melky, a healthy Matsui and TEIX. We can afford to lose his bat. A-Rod is coming back soon anyways. It’s not like we’re going to lose every game since Posada isn’t there…

      • Jake K

        Are you confident that Melky actually is better? Do you remember how he started last year? Or that Matsui’s knees are all of a sudden better and are going to hold up all year? We learned last year the impact of playing replacement level bats every game.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Yes I believe Melky is better this year. It’s still a small SSS but he’s actually hitting. Matsui gets days off to avoid more injuries. He won’t play the field for quite some time and he doesn’t over hustle he’ll be fine. And we still have Teix heating up and A-Rod coming. And I forgot to mention we have Nick Swisher who may come back to Earth but he’ll improve from last year. Jorge is a career .277/.479/.859
          That isn’t a huge a loss as A-Rod. I’m pretty sure A-Rod, Teix, Cano, Swish, and Matsui can make up for it.
          And who’s the next best catcher available? I doubt he has stellar hitting numbers.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            LOL fail. I mean SSS. Not Small SSS.

    • AJ

      And let’s remember that Molina does have some limited power to the gaps. How many times did we see him rip doubles into the gaps last year? We all know he’s no offensive wizard, but he’s not exactly a pushover at the plate either.

      If only he got some of Bengie’s hitting prowess…

      • Jake K

        Yes, he is. His OPS+ last year was 51.

  • yankeefan91 Arod fan

    cervelli was called up according to brian hoch.

    • MattG

      That is good news. He’ll catch and throw it fine, and get on base his share. Put him right in, Joe!

      • Zack

        His share being, like, never?

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          What would lead you do that conclusion? He has a career .384 OBP in the minors.

          • Brendo

            People think someone hitting his weight in Double A is going to help? We got some thinkers here.

  • Axl

    Are we ever going to investigate why our team suffers the most injuries in the world year after year? Are we just going to continue to rock back n forth in the rocking chair and pretend it’s all circumstance and coincidence?? Something is going on…

    Every year we have at least 2 or 3 big stars going down with significant time…and the injuries are always pretty serious. It’s never the Josh Beckett “pulled an oblique” and he’s back in a week type pitching injury or the “Manny Ramirez strained his hamstring” and he’s out for 2 games total. It’s always significant time and a potentially scary injury that sometimes has our guys out for a very long time.

    Yeah we have somewhat of an old team…but it’s EVERYONE…the old guys are actually healthy right now!

    • Jeremy

      Last year we had that crazy conditioning guy who got fired after half the team came down with leg injuries.

      This year, it must be distraction over the A-Rod book. The Yankees are very sensitive people.

    • MattG

      Its not the voodoo doll in my drawer. I’m just holding that for a friend.

      • Axl

        You must have been holding quite a few voodoo dolls over the years…

        • Brendo

          They suffer injuries because they are pretty old all the way around. Old guys break down.

  • yankeefan91 Arod fan

    Arod went 3-6 with two homeruns and a single and made to plays today.

    • MattG

      He must’ve hit the syrup last night.

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      Get. Him. Here. Friday.

    • Axl

      That’s nice…but how did he pitch???

  • JP

    The injury issue is huge. I don’t know if the Yankees’ coaching staff, major or minor leagues, is somehow “responsible” for all the injuries we seem to get…I suspect it isn’t. All teams have injury issues. Look at the Angels this year.

    But I do think that, in general, it should be possible to figure out more on why players get injured. Teams are much, much more proactive with injuries today than they wer 25 years ago. They put players on the DL in order to prevent more serious injuries, or so it seems. But does it work? I don’t know.

    One thing I do know is that baseball could make a few simple rule changes that would help teams, personnel-wise, especially with pitchers.

    1. Eliminate the DH. Never gonna happen, but they should do it.
    2. Encourage more liberal calling of strikes, and consider moving the batters’ boxes away from the plate slightly, to prevent batters from crowding the plate. Also, either eliminate body armor, or make a rule that if you are hit on a protective elbow cover, it’s a ball, not a hit batsmen.

    I think pitchers are probably as durable as they were 25 years ago. They just can’t get as deep into games, because it’s taking more pitches to get batters out. Hitters have learned how important “strike zone judgement” is, and with umpires as willing accomplices, more and more hitters are becoming experts at working the count. This is easy enough to fix, just call more strikes. Players will swing at pitchers’ pitches more if they are behind in the count, or at least more afraid of getting rung up. If we can get hitters to back off the plate more, there will be less opposite field homers, less balls hit in play, because the outside corner will be much harder to cover. Get rid of the DH, and you replace a fat, old guy with great bat speed with a pitcher who can’t hit.

    Do all of these things, and lots of pitchers will be able to pitch 250 innings again, not just the superstars in the prime of their career. We’ll need less bullpen guys, and we’ll have more bench players available to managers to manage and make the game interesting.

    Most of the pitcher problem today is fixable with rules changes.

    At least that’s my “hypothesis…”

    • pat

      JP your hypothesis makes sense but in the grand scheme of baseball, longballs put asses in seats not pitching duels. MLB would never adopt new rules or banish old ones for the sake of helping out pitchers.

    • Axl

      I agree a lot of this plays a role. Pitchers used to pitch until they literally told the manager they couldn’t any longer. But the offensive guys are getting injured quite a lot too…and it’s not just the DH or the elbow pads doing it.

      Players used to go out and drink and crash their cars into buildings and trees…and wake up with a mean hangover and play the next day and hit 2 home runs in a game. And Yankee Stadiumm had like drainage pumps, memorial park, etc…ON THE FIELD!!! And there was still less injuries than today.

      For the most part…players are doing a lot more than they used to. Pitchers are throwing MUCH harder…and throwing different kinds of pitches…tweeking their wrist all around and their arm for pitches that weren’t really seen back in the day.
      Perhaps the larger fields back in the day kept the positional players in shape? who knows…or maybe the guys are just trying too hard…taking too many supplements they believe are helping them…that are actually doing the opposite?? Nobody can really tell…but it’s something.

      The Yankees as a whole have been doing exactly the opposite of whatever used to be done…that is all I know…they’re head and shoulders above any other team when it comes to injuries…

      • jsbrendog

        my friend mentioned the monument park thing at the rainout sunday…

        how the hell did people not die?

        • thurdonpaul

          there was 3 monuments in left center field, when the distance was 450ish feet, so they didnt come into play a whole lot, i remember watching bobby murcer jumping between them to track down a ball :)

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      Losing the DH just creates another problem: more injured position players. Imagine if Hideki Matsui had to play the field. Just imagine that. Right now. You think Bobby Abreu’s range was bad? The DH is just fine the way it is. Pitchers hitting is stupid. It’s essentially an automatic out and is incredibly obsolete in baseball. I guess I’ve got no real problem keeping it in the NL so there can be a difference between the two leagues, but I wouldn’t mind if they adopted it there as well.

      I brought this up last night and I think it needs to be adopted: the strike zone has to be standardized and enforced much more. I understand that the “human error” or whatever of the umpires is a charming part of the game but it’s one that needs to be changed.

      • AJ

        Unless you have Carlos Zambrano. And tell me that, right now, it wouldn’t be sweet to see CC in the 9 hole. He’s got some power.

        Agreed on the strike zone. Hughes got squeezed last night, and I think Girardi had a valid argument when he went out there. It seemed like Lester was getting some more leeway. Gotta call everything evenly and consistently.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          It wouldn’t be awesome to see a guy, whose primary duty is to pitch for seven years, go to the plate and further risk injury by having to run.

          It’s ridiculous that a ton of umpires all have different strike zones.

          • AJ

            Sabathia comment = sarcasm.

            My sarcasm = fail.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

              My sarcasm detector = fried by studying.

    • Chris

      Before 1961, there were 16 major league teams. With a 4 man rotation, that means you need 64 healthy pitchers to fill out the rotations. Today, you have 30 teams and 5 man rotations, so you need 150 pitchers to fill out the starting rotations.

      There are still a lot of pitchers that could throw 250 innings a year, just not enough to fill out all of the available slots. Also, you can’t tell who until the ones that can’t handle that workload breakdown. Considering the investment in these young pitchers, it’s not surprising that teams treat everyone cautiously to keep as many as possible healthy.

      • thurdonpaul

        ietc

  • yankeefan91 Arod fan

    damm posada to miss 35 weeks. fuck

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Punctuation fail = you.

      damm posada to miss 3-5 weeks.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        /steps off of ledge.

  • Frank

    Per Pete Abe, Yankees are saying 2-3 weeks for Posada but others believe more like 3-5 weeks. Figure at least a month for a fairly severe hammy injury.

    • Axl

      What else is new…

      The clock is ticking until Damon, Matsui, etc start to follow…

      • Frank

        Damon is half way there already. He has a bum shoulder and doesn’t want it scanned for fear of the results. I’m sure the attempt to catch that foul ball last night didn’t help his cause.

        • Axl

          Funny how a lot of these guys were never injured before…then they get here and they’re injured constantly…

          • AJ

            Axl,
            The team knew of Matsui’s knees when they signed him. This hasn’t been a recent phenomenon – he’s dealt with this injury for quite some time. I think your conclusion is slightly illogical. If Matsui played for the Royals, he’d still battle knee problems. If Jorge played for the Mets, he could still strain his hamstring. It’s all the luck of the draw. This team could be the Angels right now, but they’re doing slightly better.

        • steve (different one)

          I’m sure the attempt to catch that foul ball last night didn’t help his cause.

          pretty sure he hit a HR right after that…

          • Brendo

            Old guys=Get hurt

    • MattG

      That surprises me. Only the speed guys usually miss real time with hamstring problems. I remember Boggs playing practically a whole season on a bad hamstring. He said it didn’t matter, he’s slow no matter what.

      I really figured this as a “all-we’ve-got-is-molina-for-the-next-few-days-and-no-room-on-the-roster” DL stint. I am very surprised to learn Posada will miss more than 15 days.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Eh, Wade Boggs at 3B isn’t crouching for 3+ hours.

  • yankeefan91 Arod fan

    3 to 5 my mistake.

  • AJ

    It depends on the severity of the strain. I’m hoping for only a few weeks, but it will depend on the severity and how his rehab goes. Sometimes these things can be tricky.

    Also, for all of you out there wondering Cervelli’s numbers in AA Trenton:
    16 GP, .190 AVG/.266 OBP/.310 SLG/ 11 HITS/ 2 HR/ 7 RBI/ 8 RUNS/ 6 BB/ 13 K’S

    He also has 5 errors behind the plate.

    • Evan

      Looks like Ransom, minus the HRs.

  • JP

    Well, why should any position player bat, then? Why not be like football, and have defensive specialists, and offensive specialists?

    Pitchers should DEFINITELY hit. You wouldn’t have more position players getting injured…what would happen is that guys like Matsui and Frank Thomas and David Ortiz would either stay in shape enough to play 1b, or they would be out of the game because they can’t play the field.

    That’s how the game _should_ be played–by athletic guys who can play offense and defense. Not by fat, injury prone guys with lots of bat speed.

    I’m not sure players are getting injured any more today than they did in the past, or that pitchers throw harder today. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying there is no way to prove it. One thing is sure: if you always stop at 100 pitches, that’s what you’ll be conditioned to do, and you’ll break down when you go over that number. Probably in the past, guys with bodies who couldn’t hack throwing 120 pitches on average in a game ended up washing out as pitchers and doing something else.

    For sure, we could do alot to help the pitching revolving door, the bullpen woes that just about every team seems to have (except the 3-4 teams each year that get lucky with the bullpen, and usually end up in the playoffs because of it), is to increase the chances that a pitch will get a player out. You do this by stacking the deck a bit against the hitters.

    Whoever said that homers put butts in seats is correct, and certainly this has something to do with why the AL started the DH. But it isn’t needed, apparently, in the NL. It should be eliminated. Period.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      Well, why should any position player bat, then? Why not be like football, and have defensive specialists, and offensive specialists?

      Before the NL, where is the last place pitchers bat anymore? When I played in HS, pitchers didn’t bat. When I played American Legion, pitchers didn’t bat. When I go watch college games, pitchers don’t bat. In the minors pitchers generally don’t bat, either. It’s a part of the game that has been grown out of. What’s more entertaining? Watching a pitcher face nine hitters or eight?

      Pitchers should DEFINITELY hit. You wouldn’t have more position players getting injured…what would happen is that guys like Matsui and Frank Thomas and David Ortiz would either stay in shape enough to play 1b, or they would be out of the game because they can’t play the field.

      So getting one of the best players of the last 15 years, Frank Thomas, out of the game is a good thing? How? The DH extends the careers of good players. This is a good thing. It makes teams stronger and allows fans to see the best product possible.

      This argument also has nothing to do with pitchers. Why should pitchers hit from a pitcher’s standpoint? What is there to gain from it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. All it does is take away run production from a team.

      That’s how the game _should_ be played–by athletic guys who can play offense and defense. Not by fat, injury prone guys with lots of bat speed.

      So let’s punish guys at the end of their careers instead of rewarding them for good skills: on base prowess and power. Those are GOOD THINGS. They help teams win ball games. The DH does not hurt the integrity of the game at all. If anything, it keeps the better players around longer which leads to more fans coming to games, which leads to more money, which leads to better players…etc.

      I’m not sure players are getting injured any more today than they did in the past, or that pitchers throw harder today. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying there is no way to prove it. One thing is sure: if you always stop at 100 pitches, that’s what you’ll be conditioned to do, and you’ll break down when you go over that number. Probably in the past, guys with bodies who couldn’t hack throwing 120 pitches on average in a game ended up washing out as pitchers and doing something else.

      You know why managers yank their pitchers after 100 pitches? Because that’s when they’re most likely to get hurt. Pitching doesn’t hurt your arm but pitching tired does. If we’re gonna talk about back-in-the-day compared to now, let’s think about this from the bottom line since baseball is essentially a business. The investment in players today is MUCH greater than it was in the “good old days” and that’s why we see players “coddled” or “babied.” Owners sink a fuckton of money into these players and anything they can do to keep those players healthy will be done.

  • thurdonpaul

    this comment has nothing to do with the current state of the yankees pitching, so dont jump on me thinking that i think he would have solved anything,but, i miss watching Moose pitch

  • Brendo

    Isn’t this why they rebuilt the staff? I’m not worried about the starters. Even Wang will be back soon. The bullpen is a huge worry.

    That is why Joba will be back where he belongs before too long to shore up that pen. It will go from weakness to strength and with Hughes pitching well there is no need for Joba to go 6 innings once a week when he shorten games 4 times a week.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Joba isn’t going back to the bullpen. It has been been said that wouldn’t happen. But I’m actually glad to reply to a B-Jobber. They’re not jumping off a bridge and committing suicide over Jorge’s injury.

    • Jeremy

      Urge to kill . . . rising . . .

  • JP

    Before the NL, where is the last place pitchers bat anymore? When I played in HS, pitchers didn’t bat. When I played American Legion, pitchers didn’t bat. When I go watch college games, pitchers don’t bat. In the minors pitchers generally don’t bat, either. It’s a part of the game that has been grown out of. What’s more entertaining? Watching a pitcher face nine hitters or eight?

    Other leagues adopted the DH because it simply allowed for the development of more players. That doesn’t make it right. Watching a good hitter hit is more entertaining than watching a pitcher hit, yes. But it’s not exactly entertaining watching a 4 hour baseball game with 13 pitching changes. The DH was adopted because pitchers had become so dominant that it was needed (or thought to be) to stimulate offense. There is no need to stimulate offense today. Offense is at historic highs. Games take too long. Teams cannot keep enough position players on a roster to substitute freely, because all the roster spots are going to pitchers. This creates a need for more pitchers, which means the baseline skill level needed to make the majors drops. If you take measures to increase the effectiveness of pitchers, it will benefit the entire game.

    So getting one of the best players of the last 15 years, Frank Thomas, out of the game is a good thing? How? The DH extends the careers of good players. This is a good thing. It makes teams stronger and allows fans to see the best product possible.

    I disagree. If a player can no longer run, and no longer handle a glove decently, he shouldn’t be in the game. Extending the careers of stars shouldn’t be a priority, not when they’ve become a half-player. When a star can’t play anymore, it simply opens a spot for a new star to come into the league. Having the DH encourages the development of one-dimensional players. Baseball is more exciting when played by athletic guys who can hit AND run AND field. The game has been so dominated by homeruns in the last 15 years that most modern baseball fans don’t know how multifacted the game can be. Things like stealing bases, good baserunning, and good defense DO matter, but are dwarfed by the value of homeruns. The game is drowning in homers (and lousy pitchers), and it would be better with a few less. We can stand saying goodbye to the Frank Thomases of the world a few years earlier.

    This argument also has nothing to do with pitchers. Why should pitchers hit from a pitcher’s standpoint? What is there to gain from it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. All it does is take away run production from a team.

    You’re making my point–taking away run production has a direct effect on pithcers! We have enough run production. What we need is to level the playing field somewhat back toward pitchers, so that a team doesn’t require over half of its roster to sit in the bullpen. Take the DH out of the game, and you make it just a bit easier on the opposing pitching staff.

    So let’s punish guys at the end of their careers instead of rewarding them for good skills: on base prowess and power. Those are GOOD THINGS. They help teams win ball games. The DH does not hurt the integrity of the game at all. If anything, it keeps the better players around longer which leads to more fans coming to games, which leads to more money, which leads to better players…etc.

    Well, you can look at the DH rule, and the strike zone, and conclude that all we are doing now is punishing pitchers. Why do aging hitters get priority in the rules over pitchers? Why is that good? Why should a star pitcher have the deck stacked against him? Without a DH, on base percentage and power will be just as important as they were with a DH. Every team will simply have a bit less of each, which will allow them to get more out of their pitchers. But the relative importance of OPS will remain the same. And I’m not sure having aging stars around is good for the game. You are correct that homers put fans in the seats, and stars sell advertising. But you can’t be too slavish to this sort of thing, because you end up throwing out the baby with the bath water. Baseball games take so long to play, largely because of excessive hitting, excessive walks, and the resulting plethora of pitching changes. Ball games extend past midnight…how many kids can even watch them anymore? How does it help baseball to make their product slower, more boring, and less accessible to young fans. I’m not talking about taking us back to 1908. We still need homeruns and offense. We just have waaaaaay too much of it now. And there are easy, simple things to do to correct it.

    You know why managers yank their pitchers after 100 pitches? Because that’s when they’re most likely to get hurt. Pitching doesn’t hurt your arm but pitching tired does.

    Well, Matt, I think there’s a chicken-egg issue here. Yeah, guys get hurt if they pitch on tired arms. But how are you ever going to build the arm strength needed to throw 120 pitches if – at every level of your development – you are stopped at 100 or less? But that’s not my point…it’s a side issue. If, as you say and as most people believe, 100 pitches is a safe limit, and you have offenses that routinely tax the opposing pitcher to that limit relatively early in the game, then you either need more pitchers (which is what we have now), or you have to find a way to make those pitches accomplish more. We’ve tried adding more pitchers, it’s been the trend for the last 25 years, and it has not done squat to cut down on injuries or help starting pitchers be any more effective. I’m saying that the game is out of whack, too much in favor of the hitters. Without changing anything in terms of durability or skill of pitchers, if you simply make it easier for them to get guys out (by adjusting the strike zone, or the batters box distance from the plate, or eliminating the DH), you will instantly require fewer pitchers to complete games and a season. In a way, it’s another way that you protect pitchers…

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      But it’s not exactly entertaining watching a 4 hour baseball game with 13 pitching changes.

      Neither is watching a double-switch fest like what goes on in the NL.

      The DH was adopted because pitchers had become so dominant that it was needed (or thought to be) to stimulate offense. There is no need to stimulate offense today. Offense is at historic highs. Games take too long. Teams cannot keep enough position players on a roster to substitute freely, because all the roster spots are going to pitchers.

      Thought to be? Go look at the pitching numbers from the ’60’s. The pitcher had every single advantage. Creating the DH wasn’t a bad thing. Is it really historic? The run scoring environment in the ’20’s was pretty damn good, too, even w/o the DH. This isn’t just the “fault” of the DH, btw. We’re seeing offense from positions that are normally defense oriented. Guys like Ripken, Jeter, Rodriguez, Garciaparra, Tejada, and Hanley Ramirez have contributed offense at an incredible level at a position was ALWAYS a defense first position. A similar thing is happening now with guys at second base–Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler, Utley, Phillips, Uggla–and centerfield–Sizemore, Granderson. The DH isn’t the only thing contributing to a lot of offense.

      Extending the careers of stars shouldn’t be a priority, not when they’ve become a half-player.

      Some of these players contribute much more than guys who can play the field. Who would you rather have: David Eckstein or David Ortiz?

      Having the DH encourages the development of one-dimensional players

      Most players don’t start off at DH. They go there when they get injured or are just too bad to play in the field, yet still good enough to contribute. Just because a guy isn’t good w/the glove doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed to play. If a team can find a useful position for him at the plate, they should be applauded, not chastised.

      Things like stealing bases, good baserunning, and good defense DO matter, but are dwarfed by the value of homeruns.

      That’s because the value of the home run is, objectively, more valuable than those things. A steal is great, but if you’re just running crazy it’s not going to net you anything. If you’re gonna steal, do it like the Phillies: not an incredible volume of steals but VERY few times being caught. Hitting for power and getting on base, however, is better than stealing and “manufacturing” runs, things that usually cost a team runs over the course of a season.

      ou’re making my point–taking away run production has a direct effect on pithcers! We have enough run production. What we need is to level the playing field somewhat back toward pitchers, so that a team doesn’t require over half of its roster to sit in the bullpen. Take the DH out of the game, and you make it just a bit easier on the opposing pitching staff.

      This still doesn’t explain why pitchers should hit. You’re only making half a point. You’re saying the DH should be gone but you’re not making any case for why pitchers should hit. And look at my point above: the DH isn’t the only place where offense is coming from. Shortstops, second basemen, and centerfielders are all hitting nowadays. Hell, even some catchers like Piazza, Posada (“old” guys), Mauer, and McCann are getting in on it. Good hitters are popping up all over the field rather than just at DH.

      Well, you can look at the DH rule, and the strike zone, and conclude that all we are doing now is punishing pitchers.

      I think the strike zone needs to be standardized since it benefits both pitchers and hitters. Both of them essentially have to play a guessing game before each game. It’s silly. There should be one defined strikezone: batter’s knees to batter’s letters (is it just me or does nothing above the belt get called today?).

      Baseball games take so long to play, largely because of excessive hitting, excessive walks, and the resulting plethora of pitching changes. Ball games extend past midnight…how many kids can even watch them anymore?

      I don’t really care about games taking too long but that’s just me. It’s a non-issue to me ’cause, hey, the more baseball the better.

      In a way, it’s another way that you protect pitchers…

      Except you expose them to more injuries by forcing them to hit and subsequently run the bases. We all know how that can turn out(and so can Cubs fans, apparently).

      I’m also not saying guys should never throw 120 pitches. I’m just saying those things should be limited so we can have pitchers last longer.

      In my opinion, you haven’t given me a reason why pitchers should hit. You’ve only given me reasons why hitters should play the field. So, why should pitchers hit? What does it add to the game? It does not add a distinct element of strategy (hell, even old Hunches Leyland said that managing in the AL is harder than managing in the NL), it exposes guys who are HUGE investments to unnecessary injury, and is just antiquated. The game changes and evolves.

  • rsam

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  • JP

    Matt:

    I don’t know how else to explain why pitchers should hit, other than the fact that all players should hit. Why not have a team of 9 offensive specialists, and nine defenders, like football? Given the basic rules of baseball, it isn’t incumbent on anyone to justify why a player should both hit and pitch. Those are the rules of the game.

    What must be proven is why you would make an exception to this rule. The DH is an exception, and it’s no longer needed.

    Yes, the homer is, objectively, more valuable than other facets of the game. So why don’t we just put the fences at 250 down the lines and 350 in center? The more homers the better, right? Baseball at its best is a game that rewards multiple skills…the so called 5 tools. For a number of reasons, power hitting has become too easy to accomplish.

    Baseball rules were established over 100 years ago. When the batters’ boxes and home plate dimensions were established, the average man was about 5’8″ tall and weighed about 150. Today, virtually every ball player is over 6′ tall. Batters can reach outside pitches and drive them, something that was almost unheard of 20 or so years ago. And, with the emphasis on warning pitchers against beanings, and the legal body armor, the ability of pitchers to scare players from standing on the plate has been virtually eliminated. Smaller ballparks encourage homers. Batters are smarter; they realize the value of on-base percentage, and have learned how to take pitches. When every team KNOWS that after 100 or so pitches they will get a crack at bullpen pitchers – usually second rate pitchers – they learn very quickly how to get to that magic 100 as fast as possible.

    Because of all of these factors, we have high scoring, long baseball games. Most teams are forced to carry 12 or 13 pitchers. This dilutes the talent pool, giving us more sub-standard pitchers, further favoring offense.

    It is said over and over that offense is fun. While this is true to a degree, as someone who has been watching baseball for almost 40 years, today’s brand of offensive baseball is about the least entertaining version I’ve ever seen.

    Things happen too slowly. Pitchers work slowly. Batters are allowed to step out after every pitch. It’s like they are doing dental work out there instead of playing baseball. It’s long counts, lots of foul balls, and lots of homers. We’re asked to endure 7-10 pitching changes per game, mostly because the existing pitchers reach their proscribed limits, but also pursuing platoon advantages (lefty righty) that are miniscule. Yes, the 1920s and 30s had alot of runs, but the games were fast. You can look them up in newspaper accounts. Baseball had a clock then – the sun. Umpires moved things along. Pitchers got the ball, got the sign, and threw. Batters swung the bat.

    This was true, still to an extent, well into the 1970s and 80s. It wasn’t until Tony LaRussa and the sports psychologists got ahold of things that it began grinding to a halt.

    Some of the balance has to be restored to the game – in the direction of pitching. Above all, the games need to get moving again.