Choosing among starting pitchers

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The Phil Hughes and Chien-Ming Wang show hit the field again last night. Wang went five good enough innings, and Hughes came in for a two-inning relief cameo. He turned in a now-familiar line: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. He threw first-pitch strikes to all six batters he faced.

For Hughes, this outing marked another in a series of stellar relief appearances. He has now thrown 10.2 innings out of the pen and has allowed just two earned runs. Opponents have just five hits off of the Yanks’ youngster, and he has struck out 14 while waking two. The drubbing he suffered at the hands of the Orioles in early May is but a memory.

With this latest appearance, Hughes’ numbers now don’t even require us to take out that disastrous 1.2 innings in Maryland to look good. He has thrown 45.1 innings and has allowed 42 hits. He has given up 17 walks while striking out 45. His ERA is down to 4.57. (Without that bad outing, his ERA sits at 3.09.) He has been, in other words, as good as advertised a few years ago.

The other half of his pitching partnership hasn’t been as good this month. After a horrendous April and three relief appearances, Chien-Ming Wang has tried to find himself in the starting rotation. The results are decidedly mixed. He needed just 62 pitches to make it through five innings against the Braves but didn’t have his best location. Since returning to the rotation, he has made four starts spanning just 17.1 innings. He has given up 24 hits and 14 earned runs for an ERA of 7.27. It’s an improvement over his 34.50 mark from April, but it’s not quite what we expect or need from the 0-6 Wang.

It would seem, then, that the Yankees will soon be faced with a decision. Do they stick with Wang and continue to ride out this winless streak of ineffectiveness and inconsistency? Do they turn the ball over to Hughes and look to see if the confidence and mentality he has shown out of the pen can translate into success over six or seven innings as a starter? It’s a quite the conundrum. They need Wang to pitch well, and they need to straighten out his problems. But as Joe said in the recap, more Phil Hughes please.

For now, the Yankees do not actually need to answer this question. Hughes will have to shadow CC Sabathia and his sore bicep until at least Friday, and the Yankees seem committed to letting Wang toss in the pitcher-happy haven that is Citi Field. I’m OK with that for this week, but one of these pitchers is making a case for himself. It’s not the one getting the ball in the first inning every five days, and we can’t ignore that reality, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.

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  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    So Hughes basically needs to throw 100 innings in the second half to meet his innings target. No way he does that without starting every five days from pretty much this point on.

    • CanoFTW

      True – but Hughes can pick up some innings in either the playoffs and/or winter league (like he did last year). I don’t think innings is something to worry about right now.

      The main worry is that we keep trotting out pitchers that aren’t currently among our 5 best.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        The playoffs aren’t a given.

        • CanoFTW

          That’s why I said and/or.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      So next year both Phil and Joba will be on a ~180 IP limit?

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

        No, next year Joba should be on a 180 IP cap and Phil should be capless, because we need to make sure he pitches 180 IP this year.

        Which he can do, if we send him back to Scranton. And frankly, if he’s married to Wang but still only pitches 2 IP in relief of him, he should be in Scranton now. We can have Aceves, or Robertson, or Coke throw 2 IP in relief of Wang. That’s dumb.

        I was okay with handcuffing Hughes to Wang’s starts because I was anticipating Hughes throwing the other 3 or 4 innings that Wang doesn’t. The days Wang starts, Hughes should be the ONLY other pitcher who pitches. Bringing Robertson into last night’s game didn’t make sense.

        Hughes needs innings.

    • Say Hey Willie

      I just checked and Hughes has only thrown 19.1 innings in the minors to go with his 45.1 major league innings. Somehow I thought he had thrown more innings in AAA.

      • Mike bk

        nope…just 3 starts before replacing Wang. so he is at 65 innings for the year needing at least 85 more. so he needs to pitch 30 innings a month which means he needs to start, send him to AAA or put him in the rotation. The only good thing right now about the bullpen is he is getting experience and confidence in mowing down major league hitters, but now he needs the innings to go with it.

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

          Hughes’s innings goal is 180 innings. Not 150.

          He needs to be starting in Scranton like, yesterday.

  • mko

    Come on now Cash, put Wang on the DL and fix his mechanical problems before letting him pitch in the Majors again…

  • KayGee

    Call me crazy…call me stupid…but something came to me last night it really made me think…why not?

    Yankees Starting Rotation:
    Sabbathia
    Burnett
    Wang
    Pettitte
    Aceves (or deal for an available SP)

    Bullpen:
    Coke
    Robertson
    Bruney
    Hughes
    Joba
    Rivera

    It seems like the Yankees get the best use (stuff, efficiency, effectiveness) out of both Joba and Hughes when they are in the bullpen. Bottom line is the numbers dont lie and neither do our eyes. These guys both have the potential to be electric shut down guys out of the pen and have yet to prove they can do the same as starters. Why not make the game a 5 inning game whenever you can? CC and Burnett can give you the innings to give the bullpen a rest. Pettitte has been shaky but will usually gut out the 6 innings and will give you 7 from time to time. If Wang can continue to turn things around, put Aceves as the 5 starter or trade for an available starter who can eat some innings and be efficient. Teams will feel the pressure to score early and often when a bullpen like the one above is waiting to come in and shut the door. It is unprecedented and probably open to intense criticism and questioning. But again, why not?

    Any thoughts?

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Because both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are a) too good to be wasted in the bullpen and b) better starting options than Alfredo Aceves.

      • KayGee

        I’ll never understand the term “wasted” in the bullpen. Those late inning lockdown guys are so hard to find. If you are looking for a deep, intimidating bullpen, look no further than Boston. I believe they are in first place despite losing an 18 game winning SP form last year. Oh yeah, and a guy named Papelbon who was supposed to be “too good to be wasted in the bullpen”. I think that turned out OK for them.

        The waste is leaving Brett Tomko on the roster and throwing him out there in games against the Red Sox and Mets while Joba’s 100 pitches through 4 innings kill the bullpen. Joba has proven to be nothing more than an average starting pitcher so far. Why not put him where he has been electifying, dominant, and intimidating. The difference in the stuff from Hughes is on the same level. Let them combine with Bruney and Mo to form an original and dominant bullpen that intimidates the opponent.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Oh yeah, and a guy named Papelbon who was supposed to be “too good to be wasted in the bullpen”. I think that turned out OK for them

          This is one of the most misunderstood arguments ever. Papelbon was a reliever in college and the Sox tried to convert him. However, when it became apparent that he didn’t have a third pitch, something necessary to be a good starter, they put him back in the bullpen where he belongs. Joba Chamberlain has two plus pitches, his fastball and his slider, a good curveball, an average changeup. He belongs in the rotation because he has the arsenal to get through the lineup more than one time.

          As for Joba being an “average” starter, in all his stars where he’s gone 5 or more innings, so I’m discounting his short starts in which he didn’t give up many runs, he’s given up more than three runs exactly ONE time. You don’t put him where he’s been (insert catch adjective here) because that’s not where he helps the team most. A good starter is always more valuable than a good reliever. Always.

          • Zach

            He also didnt want to start, he said he couldnt sleep during ST and finally went to Francona’s office to basically beg to put him in the bullpen.

            Funny how everyone gets on the Yankees/Joba because they’ve said in the past Joba wants to start, yet once again Boston makes a genius move with Pap

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Remember, Zach, in the MSM’s eyes all of Boston’s moves are genius, all of the Yankees’ moves are wrong.

          • KayGee

            Papelbon was not throwin into the rotation because he did not have a third pitch. He was put back because Joel Pineiro was the next best option at closer. He prepared all spring as a starter and thats what they had envisioned him to be. I’m not saying the comparison is 100% dead on, but it is there to make.

            As for Joba, discounting these brief outings is flawed itself. How can you discount the strain he puts on the bullpen in the abbreviated outings? A 1.44 WHIP is better than average? A 64/37 K/BB ratio? An average of 5 1/3 IP per start? Come on

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              I discounted some of them because there were starts early on where he was pulled early because of pitch count and one where he was pulled because of getting hit with a line drive. Those results unfairly skew things to my side because the shorter an outing, the less likely a pitcher is to give up more runs. Yes, he has a high WHIP and he’s probably throwing too many pitches and his K/BB rate isn’t exactly where you’d like it to be, but his stroke K rate is helping him out of jams and he is still 23. This isn’t the finished product of Joba Chamberlain.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Sure it’s “there to make” but that doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Papelbon is a closer now because he doesn’t have the arm strength to be a starter and he doesn’t have enough pitches to be a starter. Guys who can’t find a third pitch tend not to do well having to face an order multiple times. Notice that Phil Hughes has mostly been working fastball/curveball out of the bullpen and not using his cutter as much. This is because he doesn’t need to show a third pitch since he’s probably only going to see batters once a game out of the bullpen.

              • KayGee

                Agreed on the Hughes thing. One of the reasons I think the Hughes/Joba tandem could work is exactly that reason..they both throw harder and use their best pitches more often and effectively in the pen. I never once said abandon Joba and Hughes as starters forever…they are both young and full of potential…again just a spontaneous idea that I could see working and helping the team this year…this offseason if you can get some bullpen help to move one/both into the rotation..no problem…i think the bullpen’s recent succcess the last few weeks has kind of covered up something that will be a big problem as the season progresses especially against teams like boston that work starters hard

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Agreed on the Hughes thing. One of the reasons I think the Hughes/Joba tandem could work is exactly that reason..they both throw harder and use their best pitches more often and effectively in the pen.

                  But everyone does this. If I put CC and A.J. as relievers, they’d no doubt throw harder and have better stuff. That doesn’t mean its the role they’re best suited for.

                  I never once said abandon Joba and Hughes as starters forever…they are both young and full of potential…again just a spontaneous idea that I could see working and helping the team this year…t

                  But the argument could easily be made that it actually hurts the team this year. It also hurts the team in the long run, as it slows the development of two important pieces to the Yankee future.

                • KayGee

                  CC and AJ have proven themselves as starters…they can both throw 95 with devastating secondary pitches…i just dont see where that comparison comes in..

                  And maybe it does stunt their growth a little…but they were willing to do it with Joba in 07 and are doing it to Hughes right now…so its not liek they flat out refuse to try these guys in the pen…the flip flopping back and forth cant help anything

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  They did it with Joba in ’07 because he was coming up hard on an innings cap and it seemed pointless to let him pitch to AA and AAA batters.

                  Exactly, the flip flopping doesn’t help–they should both be starting pitchers.

                • KayGee

                  The innings limit is another thing. I love what Nolan Ryan is doing in Texas. I would love to see more teams take that approach.

                  Thats fine. Thank you for having a normal conversation/debate without the arrogant dismissive tone.

    • gxpanos

      Ugh. Why not put CC and AJ in the BP too!

      3 inning games, baby!

      • KayGee

        Because CC has won a Cy Young and Burnett has led the league in K’s and won 18 games. Thanks for the sarcasm though.

        • Ivan

          Then you have replace, Hughes with a pitcher who has a ERA over 11.00 and replace Joba with a inferior starter. What makes u think Aceves will pitch so well as a starter? Cuz he has had a couple of solid innings out of the pen. That just doesn’t make sense trust me.

          • KayGee

            Aceves is unproven as a starter no question. But so is Joba. The main point of this move is to use your pitchers to their strengths, and right now Joba and Hughes strengths are proven to be in the bullpen. I’m not going to reach into the stats and show the ridiculous difference in overall numbers because it is visible every time Hughes comes out of the pen and most of the time Joba starts. Like I said, the big IF in this is Wang coming into form. If he can and you have CC, AJ, Wang, Pettitte, Aceves (or trade for SP), with a bullpen like that, how can you not at least consider it?

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Joba is at least three times more proven as a starter than Aceves is. For all his “inconsistency” this year, Joba has given up more than three runs only two times this year.

              I wouldn’t consider it because putting Alfredo Aceves in the rotation is just a bad move. He’s not nearly as good as Chamberlain or Hughes. Weakening the rotation to bolster the bullpen is just a silly move.

            • jsbrendog

              I’m not going to reach into the stats and show the ridiculous difference in overall numbers because it is visible every time Hughes comes out of the pen and most of the time Joba starts.

              oaktag.

              • KayGee

                Maybe someone can explain to me what oaktag means. I’m new to this site.

                Like I said, call me crazy call me whatever. This is an idea I had and it is contingent on a few things (CMW coming back to form, Pettitte staying healthy, Aceves POSSIBLY being a decent starter if not trading for 1). Just watching these games I see something different from both Joba and Hughes when they start and relieve. They attack and throw strikes as relievers and both cant seem to do the same consistently as a starters. To me, the numbers done lie either. Thanks for debating.

                • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                  Relievers have the luxury of not having to “pitch”, all they have to do is attack hitters, because they are probably not going to see the lineup a second time.

                • jsbrendog

                  the numbers od lie because neither one of them has had a full season asa reliever when you combine all of their innings as relievers. as starters they have shown they can dominate. It is abulot their FUTURES and the best thing for the team is for their FUTURE TO BE AS STARTERS. And until they have shown they cannot hakc it as starters over an extended period of time then and only then do you put them in te pen. As joe mentions below, greg maddux, imo the best starter of this generation not named prime of his career pedro, had an era of over 6 his first 180 innings. and then he became the 96 p[itch complete game shutout master.

                • KayGee

                  I agree that pitchers should be given the chance to start if they are believed to have an arsenal of pitches and possible top of the rotation stuff…I’m not even here saying the Yankees are idiots and they dont kno what they are doing or its so obvious…because its not obvious and its a tough decision to make…there are a number of differences with starting and relieving and everyone has different opinions about it…i liek the idea of shortening the game whenever possible and I think this idea of assembling a ridiculously dominating bullpen could possibly work..i have never understood the notion of “wasting” guys in the bullpen

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

              I’m not going to reach into the stats and show the ridiculous difference in overall numbers because it is visible every time Hughes comes out of the pen and most of the time Joba starts.

              Fine, I will.

              Joba Chamberlain, Runs Above Replacement as a Starting Pitcher, Career:
              29.0
              Joba Chamberlain, Runs Above Replacement as a Relief Pitcher, Career:
              21.6

              Phil Hughes, Runs Above Replacement as a Starting Pitcher, Career:
              18.9
              Phil Hughes, Runs Above Replacement as a Relief Pitcher, Career:
              2.5

              A starting pitcher who throws 150-200 innings of 3.75 ERA ball is more valuable AND more dominant than a relief pitcher who throws 50-80 innings of 1.90 ERA ball. Because the replacement value ERA of a starter is higher than the replacement value ERA of a reliever. Relievers have lower ERA’s than starters do because ERA is more of a counting stat then a rate stat. It’s a Rate stat normalized to a 9 inning sample size, which skews the metric for relievers since it’s a sample size that corresponds poorly to the abbreviated natures of their outings. So, Joba’s career ERA as a starter of 3.34 shows greater statistical evidence of “dominance” than his career ERA as a reliever of 1.53, because it’s harder for a starter to maintain an ERA that low over the larger sample size.

              • KayGee

                TO be honest…this runs over replacement is too beyond me…and you are only going by ERA with this …do you now take into account IP, WHIP, K/BB ration..things that could determine progress as a starter…ERA is not everything

                • V

                  You shouldn’t make arguments if you can’t understand the opposition’s rebuttals.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  KayGee: the IP are exactly what makes a starter more valuable than a reliever.

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

                  Yes, all that is taken into account.

                  Here’s the rub of it: Joba’s performance as a starter is more impressive than his performance as a reliever.

                • andrew

                  Runs over replacement is fairly self-explanatory. It’s how much better Joba is than a replacement player (AAA call-up). He’s better, more dominant, more effective – whatever terms you want to use – as a starter because a replacement starter (Aceves) would likely not perform as well as Joba is. While a replacement reliever (Melancon, Robertson) could probably perform at level not too far off from what Joba was doing.

                • KayGee

                  IP are valuable…but if you are a starter averaging 5 1/3 and hurting the pen..they arent as valuable.. coming in the 7th and 8th inning is a pretty valuable

                  I understand the gist of the replacement player but melancon and robertson producing close to Joba? I dont buy that argument at all. I am not big into the advanced stats although Im sure some of them are accurate…

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  A starter going 5.1 innings in 30 starts is more valuable than a shut down reliever, or even a closer. Last year was one of Andy Pettitte’s most mediocre seasons and he was worth 4.4 WAR. Mo, in one of his best seasons, was worth “only” 3.1 WAR.

                  And, yes, I believe Melancon and Robertson could produce close to what Joba did in relief. They may not look as sexy doing it but they’ll get the job done.

                • JP

                  So, Joba’s career ERA as a starter of 3.34 shows greater statistical evidence of “dominance” than his career ERA as a reliever of 1.53, because it’s harder for a starter to maintain an ERA that low over the larger sample size.

                  This, and the statistical explanation that preceded it, are fantastic. Hat’s off to you, sir.

                  My only nit to pick: Following your logic, in order to really prove that Joba’s 3.34 as a starter is better than 1.53 in relief, don’t you have to adjust the starting number for the number of innings he typically pitches in a start? In other words, he is not a 6-8 inning man routinely, as is Beckett. So if ERA is more friendly to a 1-2 inning pitcher than to a 6-8 inning pitcher, wouldn’t Joba’s 4-5 inning “starts” also be skewed favorably?

                  Maybe this is a terribly tiny nit to pick, but you started the discussion…

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

                  That assumes that Beckett doesn’t have some 4 or 5 inning starts mixed in during a season. He most certainly does.

                  It’s a nit to pick, but it’s a real small nit to pick. But yeah, if Joba and Beckett and Halladay all had equal ERAs, Halladay’s would be more dominant than Beckett’s and Beckett’s more dominant than Joba’s because of total IP and depth into games.

              • Ivan

                YOU KNOW WHAT GRINDS MY GEARS, PEOPLE WITH ADVANCE STATS. FUCK YOU STAT MAN, FUCK YOU.

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

                  You know what really grinds my gears? You, America. FUCK YOU.

    • Ivan

      That’s just doesn’t make any sense. You’ll just weaken your rotation and weak rotation can effect a bullpen at times. Why put Joba AND Hughes in the pen. You do know that Joba and Hughes are one the yanks best starters.

      Besides, Joba and Hughes have too much potential to be wasted for the bp.

      • KayGee

        1 of the best starters? Have you watched Hughes start games? Have you watched Joba start games?

        CC is the number 1 and say what you want, but Burnett is here to be the number 2, maybe 3 since Wang is a ? No doubt Burnett has to step it up for this theory to work. If you can deal for a middle of the rotation starter to go along with CC, AJ, Wang (hopefully, and thats a big IF), Pettitte, and throw in a mix of Aceves if need be, I think theres a legitimate argument to make this move.

        • Ivan

          Have you watch the games?

          Can you tell me for the 2009 season that CMW has pitch better than Hughes this year? Seriously?

          Can you tell for the 2009 season that Afredo Aceves has pitch better than Joba, even if Aceves was a starter?

          Joba, is a 23 year old pitcher putting up some solid #’s and is only gonna get better. I garantee u, Aceves wouldn’t put up the #’s that Joba has in 09. That is just weakening your team. Especially when you just replace a starter (Hughes) with a starter with a 11.00 ERA.

          You can’t hold leads in the 7th and 8th and your starters won’t help you get leads.

          • KayGee

            You dont need to get to the 7th inning when you have 4 guys in the bullpen that can come in on given days and shut teams down. Its about shortening games, not asking Aceves to go 6-7 every time out. And if you read the posts, the IF is CMW and his progress. And Aceves has a sidenote of a possible trade of a middle of the rotation SP. Never once did i say CMW has pitched better than Hughes or Aceves better than Joba. Hughes and Joba have both pitched better out of the pen than they have in the rotation. Should I run through Joba’s starts game by game. Is he not killing the ‘pen going 4 innings? Walking in runs not attacking hitters. CC and Burnett will give you innings and Pettitte will for the most part. IF CMW can round himself back into close to his old self, this is not weakening the team.

            • jsbrendog

              ip as a starter 135

              ip as reliever 59

              id take 135 innings of joba the starter ver 59 innings of joba the reliever one bajillion times out of bajillion

              • jsbrendog

                you know who else only has 59 innings of relief in their career from thwne they first came up and then was a fulltime starter??

                zach greinke…just saying

                should edinson volquez go to the pen? His wWHIP and ERA are higher than joba’s in almsot 3x the innings.

                should josh johnson? he has similar ERA and WHIP in just about double the innings

                should jair jurrgens go to the pen? his WHIP and ERA are near identical to joba’s in double the innings.

                you keep saying should i bring out the stats? yes you should cause they show youre wrong. 59 innings WHOOPPEEEEE thats not even 1 full season as a reliever.

                • KayGee

                  Without going nuts,

                  Josh Johnson has a 2.66 ERA and a WHIP of just over 1.0 in his first real healthy season after TJ Surgery. Look into numbers before you rant.

                  Volquez was 17-6 with a 3.2 ERA last year in 196 Innings. So why even mention putting him in the bullpen.

                  Im talking about the stats between Joba starting and relieving. And watching the difference in velocity and approach between the 2. Not against pitchers in the NL that have nothing to do with the argument. You are a clown

                • jsbrendog

                  youre bending the stats to suit your argument. we are looking at career numbers. joba’s career numbers as a starter is in line with them. if you think one shoud go to the pen you think they all should. i did look into the stats and they show you are wrong.

                  any b-jobber is also not worth my time but i fall for it every time god dammit….

                  and volquez was traded because he didnt seemt o be able to grasp his potential. if you were the rangers gm you wouldve put him in the pen. josh johnson was a pitcher before his tj, so those numbers count too there big guy

                  thats it…im swearing off b-jobbers cold turkey

                • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

                  Volquez had ERAs of 14.21 and 7.76 in his first two seasons, but he had “electric shut down” stuff that would have translated great to the bullpen. No one ever thought of doing that. You know why? Because good starting pitching is always more important than a good bullpen and when guys have great stuff you let them develop that stuff as a starter.

                • jsbrendog

                  amen HALELUJAH BROTHER!

                • KayGee

                  Considering TJ Surgery can completely change a pitcher, I put more weight on Johnson post surgery and the 95mph fastballs he was pumping by the Yankees the other day. And considering I dont get to watch Volquez or Johnson as much as I get to watch Joba/Hughes, I cant boldly state that these guys do/do not belong in the pen/rotation. At least you can do that because I’m guessing you watch every start and saw Volequez before he was traded. I also think part of the reason he was traded was a guy named Josh Hamilton….but yeah Im sure it was just becasue they didnt know his potential…but then again you prob also talk to john hart, jon daniels, and tom hicks regularly

                • Jamal G.

                  Please take a look at Edison Volquez’s numbers pre-2008 – you would’ve screamed at the top of your lungs for him to be in the Minor Leagues or in the bullpen.

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

                  For the record, KayGee, I’d say pretty unequivocally that the Rangers LOST that trade where they gave up Volquez for Johnson. It may have made sense from a roster construction standpoint because they figured they had the surplus of pitching depth to make Volquez expendable, but between the two players, Volquez and Hamilton, if I, or any MLB GM could have only one, we’re all taking Volquez every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

                • Tampa Yankee

                  Jon Daniels also traded Alfonso Soriano for Brad Wilkerson, Armando Galarraga and Terrmel Sledge as well as Adrian Gonzalez, Terrmel Sledge and Chris Young for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka and Billy Killian so his trade history is not the best to go on.

                • YankeeStadium2

                  Volquez never threw more than 34 innings prior to 2008. With those small sample sizes you have to toss them out until they pitch 1 full season. There was no reason to put him in the pen because he never failed during a significant stretch as a SP – and in his first stint in a full season he had a huge year.

                • andrew

                  Well I wouldn’t say Joba has failed as a starter either

                • KayGee

                  Agreed that he has not failed as a starter by any means. And that trade worked out pretty well for both teams last year. Hamilton has been injured a ton this year and volquez isn’t producing like last year…I’d take either one but the volquez bullpen argument just doesnt seem to be relevant

            • Jamal G.

              Should I run through Joba’s starts game by game. Is he not killing the ‘pen going 4 innings?

              Yes, you should, because your selective memory is annoying me to end.

              • KayGee

                Its not selective memory. Its being at work and not being able to put stats together and run with it. Starts against the Mets, CLE, TEX come to mind. Sue me for not knowing the dates and the exact lines top of my head

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

                  You mean his eight-inning, two-run start against Cleveland?

                • KayGee

                  No the 4.2 IP and 5 ER….so 2 starts vs CLE thats a 5.16 ERA

      • YankeeScribe

        Joba and Phil will inevitably both be in the pen at some point in the second half. No one is saying that those guys should spend their careers as relievers. We’re just focusing on the remainder of the season.

        Alfredo is pretty solid as a starter. Wang seems to be getting his groove back. Joba and Phil together can make the bullpen lights out down the stretch when we’re in the pennant race.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Alfredo is not pretty solid as a starter. He skated by in minimal innings last year with a poor K/BB rate. His performance this year has been great, no doubt, but it is in no way indicative of his abilities as a starter.

          • jsbrendog

            yeah but yankeescribe doesnt b elieve in stats or matchups because theyre meaningless once the game starts. he sees it unfold with his own eyes!

            • YankeeScribe

              I never said I didn’t believe in stats. My point was that games are decided on the field not on paper or in computer simulations. Based on stats, this Yankees team should win 95-100 games. Unfortunately, they haven’t played at their full potential on the field and are looking like an 88-93 win team.

          • YankeeScribe

            He’s not an ace by any means but from his few starts late last season and his pitching in long relief this season, it’s clear that the guy can start games. He doesn’t have as much upside as Hughes or Joba but he’s consistent. When Joba reaches his innings limit, Ace should get some starts…

            • jsbrendog

              no he shouldnt. Joba should be shut down when he reaches his innings limit and phil hughes takes his spot in the rotation and aceves waits in the bulpen for the call when he is needed.

    • YankeeScribe

      I don’t think that’s a bad idea and it is likely to happen once Joba reaches his innings limit…

    • YNKSYNKS

      Do you actually watch the games? I’m so tired of these people coming up with these crazy ideas based off of watching a guy throw a few innings here and a few innings there.
      How do you even call yourself a fan? Have you even been to the new stadium yet? Joba and Hughes BOTH in the pen- leaving an unknown starter in the roation with Wang, who has been miserable this year and Pettitte and Burnett who are both injury prone??? Get a clue

      Meatball Parm

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

        I see you’re new to the site. We don’t tolerate people questioning other people’s fandom. Please don’t do it again.

    • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

      These guys both have the potential to be electric shut down guys out of the pen and have yet to prove they can do the same as starters. Why not make the game a 5 inning game whenever you can?

      Because when someone has the stuff to be “electric shut down guys out of the pen” you give them every opportunity to make it as a starter pitcher until they prove unequivocally that it won’t work. That’s what every team has always done and will continue to do because starting pitching has and will continue to be light years more important that relief pitching.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Call me crazy…call me stupid

      OK. I don’t like to call people stupid, but you’re definitely crazy! :)

      • jsbrendog

        so does this mean when someone gives me permission before the fact i can call them stupid and crazy?

        • KayGee

          For the fandom question…paying 300 bucks for upper deck tickets to the opening day this year…and being at the last game at the old stadium…and watching every game…id consider myself a fan..thanks for asking

          never said this theory was bulletproof…or even right…it was an idea to provoke some debate…you are the one getting bent out of shape

          • jsbrendog

            well i never questioned your fandom, only the validity to your batshit insane idea that those two are better in the bullpen than in the rotation.

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

            never said this theory was bulletproof…or even right…it was an idea to provoke some debate…you are the one getting bent out of shape

            The reason people are getting bent out of shape is because we’ve had this “debate” a billion times already and it’s nauseatingly tired.

            It’s settled. Joba and Phil to the bullpen is a horrible, horrible idea. It’s flat out dumb. We’re being short with you because there’s no more valid room for debate.

            I’m sorry that you’re new to the site and thus, missed the previous diatribes about it, but we didn’t miss them, we lived through them. Feel free to peruse the archives.

            • KayGee

              If you don’t want to respond…dont respond if you have done it before…I haven’t debated many people on the issue…thats pretty simple..i dont care that you are short with me…who are you to dismiss ideas like that? you think you know it all…i had an idea and some facts and ideas to back it up and i made it..thats all

              and for you to say its a dumb, dumb idea is fine if thats your opinion…i dont see how having a 4 man bullpen arsenal along with a solid rotation is dumb…nothing is SETTLED because you say it is

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

                I’m sorry that you’re new to the site and thus, missed the previous diatribes about it, but we didn’t miss them, we lived through them. Feel free to peruse the archives.

          • Jamal G.

            It’s a debate that has not only been beaten to death, but been attacked by necrophiliacs. Just leave it alone, please.

          • Charlie

            whatever, now you’ve had your debate, and hopefully you can see that you are completely and utterly wrong. Joba and or Hughes to the bullpen permanently is much more of a joke at this point than a serious suggestion.

          • handtius

            I think you are new here, so I will clue you in on a little secret. Most of us don’t support the Joba to the bullpen theory and we a frankly sick and tired of hearing it. The logic behind it is flawed as Tommieblahblahblah points out emphatically, with stats, in this very post.

            B-JOBER = Someone who supports Joba to the bullpen

            and Hughes doesn’t belong there either, but I don’t believe we have a solidified the choice name for that yet. I’ve been out of the country for a few and still am (RAB?)

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

              The logic behind it is flawed as Tommieblahblahblah points out emphatically, with stats, in this very post.

              You’ll rue the day you crossed me, Trebek.

              • KayGee

                Like I said it was a theory not an ultimatum of THIS MUST HAPPEN…but you guys are all on the idea that its ridiculous and neither belong in the pen when you have no evidence to back it up…its an ongoing debate until he proves himself as either a starter or a reliever…there is no guarantee in either…it is all opinion now and there are strong arguments for both sides

                either way i want it to work out and have this lineup hit the damm ball…any1 for a debate on Joba hitting cleanup?

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

                  but you guys are all on the idea that its ridiculous and neither belong in the pen when you have no evidence to back it up

                  We’ve got plenty of evidence to back it up. Frankly, we’re tired of repeating that evidence over and over. Feel free to peruse the archives if you’d like to hear the evidence. Look under the tag “Joba Chamberlain”.

                  it is all opinion now and there are strong arguments for both sides

                  No, there’s not. There’s strong arguments on the side of Joba in the rotation. There’s weak arguments on the side of Joba in the bullpen. It’s all there in the archives. Look it up.

                  any1 for a debate on Joba hitting cleanup?

                  No.

                • KayGee

                  You are right you guys know it all. Joba is an awful reliever and destined to be a number 1 starter…I mean at least be willing to admit there is an argument…ive checked the archives and read a lot of the articles..the FX pitch charts and these crazy advanced stats dont prove anything..he has done nothing extraordinary as a starter..while i dont mind him staying there and seeing what hes got, dont say there is no argument..because you are wrong

                • Charlie

                  ur wrong

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

                  the FX pitch charts and these crazy advanced stats dont prove anything..

                  That’s because you haven’t taken the time to try to understand them.

                  he has done nothing extraordinary as a starter..

                  If you think he’s done nothing extraordinary as a starter, you have no earthly clue what you’re speaking about.

                • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

                  All the proof in the world doesn’t actually prove anything

                • KayGee

                  With all the advanced stats and everything else you guys take into consideration when evaluating a pitcher…i ask one question…
                  as of today, who is having a better 2009 SEATSON.. Joba Chamberlain or Livan Hernandez?

                • Rick in Boston

                  Simply:

                  Chamberlain: ERA+ 114
                  Hernandez: ERA+ 105

                  Base ERA is lower, K/9 is higher. The only two categories that Heranndez hase a clear advantage in is IP and BB’s.

                • KayGee

                  So i guess wins dont count anymore either

                • Rick in Boston

                  Wins are a team stat, not a pitcher’s stat. There was something brought up about Wang earlier in another thread – his run support has been putrid (something like three runs over four starts).

                  Run support this year:
                  Hernandez: 5.43/start (14 starts)
                  Chamberlain: 4.92/start (13 starts)

                  Interestingly, both teams were shut out in their latest starts.

                  These aren’t advanced stats, it’s not that we don’t think a team’s wins or losses matter, it’s just in the application of them.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Can we call him crazy stupid?

        • http://bigbluepinstripes.blogspot.com/ LB

          I think so

    • Say Hey Willie

      Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached a new low. I am use to hearing Joba to the pen. I was prepared for some Hughes to the pen nonsense. What we are seeing here is a natural escalation of stupid ideas raised by MSM talking heads. Now the intellectual failing is complete. All good young pitchers must go to the pen and spots in the rotation must be filled by expensive free agents or scrap.

      Today is a sad day for humanity!

  • http://phabfour.blogspot.com/ Double-J

    I’d rather see Hughes in there right now.

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

      Me too.

      But having Wang in there so that he gets straightened out helps this team immeasurably in August, September, and October.

      Pitching depth is one of the single most important strengths of championship teams. It would be a mistake to write CMW’s season off as a sunk cost when it can be salvaged. That’s what we’re doing right now.

      • Tampa Yankee

        I agree, we also need to think about next year as well. We will need a healthy and effective CMW in the rotation next year if Pettitte hangs them up (which I think he will). CC, AJ, Joba, Hughes and CMW looks a lot better for 2010 then IPK or Aceves or whoever instead of CMW. Putting him in the pen for the rest of this year and trying to build him back up to a starter next year would be very difficult IMO.

      • ChrisS

        It would be a mistake to write CMW’s season off as a sunk cost when it could be salvaged

        Fixed.

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

          Eh, either one is grammatically acceptable.

          • radnom

            I think he was going for meaning rather than syntax.

            Implying that it may not be possible to salvage CMW, even if they keep working on him.

            I of course could be mistaken.

  • Ivan

    If the yanks start Hughes, basically you lose Wang for the season if he’s in the bullpen. However, Hughes has pitch better than Wang this season, and is really your top 5 best starting pitchers on your team, thus putting him in the bp kinda watses him as well.

    It’s really not an easy decision. You have to give Wang every opportnity to right himself, yet the yanks want to win games. The yanks are basically on an assumption that will turn it around which is quite dangerous. Remember Wang got his rotation spot back just pitching 8 innings out of the pen. Hughes pitches 10.2 IP of effectiveness, and yet he’s a caddy to Wang.

    At the end of the day, it might be logical to put Hughes to the pen, cuz of the simple fact that, he translate much better to the bp than Wang, Wang would be wasted more in the pen than Hughes in the pen, Hughes will eventually be a starter long term especially next season when Pettitte is gone, Plus, the yanks want to get as much out of Wang as possible. Does it help Hughes? Probably not, and if Wang falters it definitely won’t help the Yanks.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Two things happened between the high flying days of May and the June swoon:

    1) Hughes went to the bullpen in favor of Wang

    and

    2) Posada returned from the DL.

    You can’t blame the swoon exclusively or even mostly on these two things, but I can’t stop thinking that something happened there.

    • Ivan

      Well the problem with that is that the yankee offense has been dismal. Yankee pitching has been really good in june, but the offense has gotten absolutely cold. While I advocate Hughes in the rotation, Wang has pitch back to back games 5IP or 3run ball, with this offense that’s probably good enough but unfortunately the offense is not clicking.

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

      Something did happen there.

      It’s called “coincidence”.

      • Bo

        The Posada stuff is laughable.

        Who was the catcher when we went to the playoffs all those years in a row?

  • Andrew

    Hughes had a close to 6 ERA as a starter.

    • CountryClub

      That’s true, but the bulk of that bloated era came from one horrible start. He was solid to good in nearly all of his starts. At the very least, the Yanks had a chance to win in all but maybe 2 of his starts.

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

      Yeah? And Greg Maddux had an ERA close to 6 in his first 180 innings as a start.

      • Andrew

        Yeah, well I’m talking about his potential effectiveness THIS YEAR. So what in the world does Greg Maddux’s first 180 innings have to do with that?

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

          If you’re talking about THIS YEAR, a starter ERA close to 6 is meaningless as well. It’s inflated by his putrid start from last year. And he’s clearly not the same pitcher THIS YEAR.

          So in that context both of our comments are meaningless.

        • CountryClub

          He’s been effective this year in almost all of his starts.

      • ledavidisrael

        yahhh in the nl. dude got to pitch to pitchers!!!

  • http://www.downswinging.com Seth

    Wang needs to sort out his mechanics and injury problems before he can be effective again. Hughes will be the better choice down the stretch, and if Wang gets enough rest he might have some value towards the end of the season.

    • Evan NYC

      His mechanics seem to be getting better and better by the start. His last 2 outings he has had 0 offensive support. Hughes is doing his thing out of the BP, leave him there and let him be the spot starter and long man. Wang would have gone another 2+ innings last night if the offense was not so inept. Wang does have value, the offense has just been pathetic and has not allowed him to translate his last 2 starts into wins.

  • Mister Delaware

    Andy Pettitte would be a great LOOGY!

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      .333/.333/.667/1.000 Screw being a LOOGY, he should be the first pinch hit option off the bench!

      • ChrisS

        I assume CC is DHing for Melky?

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          Or Gardner.

      • Jack

        I don’t know, that IsoD doesn’t look too great.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          But what about that BABIP?

  • Doctor J

    Does it really matter right now? With the offense struggling so much, you could send out Ron Guidry circa 1978 and still win only 1/2 the games he pitches.

    • Evan NYC

      When they score 0 runs for him, he would not win any games.

  • Zach

    “(Without that bad outing, his ERA sits at 3.09.)”

    And without his one great start his era is above 5 (as a starter)

    • mvg

      Maybe we should do what teachers used to do in high school/college. Drop the highest and the lowest “grade” and go from there. : p

      • ChrisS

        In that case here is Hughes’s line:

        5GS 25IP 4.68 ERA 25Ks/12BBs/5HR (all at YSIII).

        I’ll take it.

      • Zach

        ha well if we’re going to play the “drop his worst start out and his era is 3.09″ then lets drop his best start too to be even

  • YankeeScribe

    Wang seems to be getting his mojo back. Why take him out of the rotation? He might put together a great second half. Hughes is developing confidence in his ability to get major league hitters out. He should be ready to begin the 2010 season in the starting rotation.

    • jsbrendog

      i agree with wang. but then hughes has to go to scranton to get innings.

      • Evan NYC

        I would like to make sure that Wang can hold his own before sending Hughes down. I agree though, he can’t sit in the bullpen and pitch 5 innings a week.

      • YankeeScribe

        Hughes can get innings playing during the winter season…

        • jsbrendog

          where? in what league? he is ineligible for the league he played in last offseason

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            Sunny Puerto Rico!!!

        • handtius

          not enough to get him up to the point where he can pitch close to a full season next year. He needs to get to 160-180 this year. Is that right RAB?

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

            That, plus he’s ineligible for winter ball.

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              Sunny Puerto Rico!!!!

              (That’s twice, the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce owes me a trip.)

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    It’s not Wang’s fault this team’s offense is absolutely offensive. He pitched well enough for us to win two consecutive starts now.

    Hughes is doing a fantastic job, but there’s no spot for him at the moment. This team has a much brighter future with an effective Chein-Ming Wang in the rotation and, as long as he’s putting us in a position to win ball games, there really isn’t an issue here.

    • Evan NYC

      +11.20

      Keep Wang in there. Offense has not shown up the last 2 games for him.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        +11.20

        I see what you did there.

        Wang’s given up 6 ER in his last 10 IP against the Nationals and Braves. That’s may be putting us in the position to win games, but it’s hardly stellar pitching.

        • Zach

          Pena also dropped a ball and the ump blew a call against the Nationals. Then they PH for Wang last night with 62 pitches through 5, not his fault he coudlnt go deeper

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

            That still doesn’t explain away the 1.50 WHIP and .286/.333/.452 offensive line against Wang. Decent but not great.

            • Evan NYC

              Agreed. But he is a contact pitcher. The bottom line is that he HAS put us in a position to win the last 2 games he has started, the offense has just flopped.

              I think that the Yankees can tolerate Wang giving the starts he has lately, as long as the offense puts up some support.

              I like Hughes coming out of the BP at this point in the season. Once Joba comes closer to his innings limit (end of August?) then we can flip-flop him and Phil. If Hughes does not reach his innings limit then, he can pitch a bit in the winter league.

              Bottom line, Wang pitching like he is currently over the last 2 starts is okay as long as we begin to score runs. I think against Washington he made strides, and last night he could have thrown 7 innings since he was only at 62 pitches when they pulled him.

              • Bo

                So now its the offense’s fault that Wangs ERA is over 10 and he cant pitch 6 innings.

                • Zach

                  he would have gone well over 6ip if the offense actually hit last night, so they wouldnt have to PH for him with 62 pitches through 5

    • Andrew

      agreed. Hughes was mediocre – at best – as a starter, guys. Wang has put together two respectable starts in a row, why even discuss a move right now?

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

        Half of that comment was correct.

  • http://theyankeebomber.blogspot.com Conan

    Start the kid! Send Wang to the pen.

  • Chris V.

    This probably goes against everyone’s beliefs, but I think Wang will soon be a better pitcher than he was before he got hurt in June of 2008. He is not just working his way back trying to find his mechanics, he seems to have completely changed his style of pitching, or is attempting to.

    Since he returned from the DL, his slider seems to be much improved. His strikeouts are way up, his strikeout to walk ratio is over 2.5 and his BaBip is still at.441 which is ridiculously high. The results havent been there yet, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      His BABIP is pretty high, but so are both his line drive and home run rates. His BABIP will drop, but not by enough if he can’t get those other numbers under control.

      • Chris V.

        I would bet his line drive % is lower than last year since hes returned. Home run rates are up for all yankee pitchers, look at Mo.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          Prior to this year, Wang’s HR/FB rate was 4.4 pitcher. Now, it’s over 11 percent. That’s an alarming increase for a ground ball pitcher.

          • Chris V.

            Again I give you Mo and SSS. Does anyone know how many innings does it take for HR/FB rate to stabilize?

    • jsbrendog

      ::offers up burtn offering to MO::

      make it so oh lord

    • handtius

      Interesting observation. I, for one, hope you are correct. I’ve always liked CMW and thought that if he worked more on his off-speed, he could be a #1 started.

  • Jake H

    I say Hughes. Wang needs to find his release point still. It appears like it’s all over the place. I don’t know how they do that thou.

  • CB

    At this point Hughes is a better pitcher than Andy Pettite. Why not make an argument that Hughes should replace Pettite in the rotation?

    Wang is making progress. His pitches are still up in the zone more often than normal but he’s clearly getting better. He seemed to have particular trouble out of the stretch. That’ll improve. He could have gone 7-8 innings last night given his pitch count. Every outing he’s been getting better. He’s getting back to the pitcher he was. The upside is there.

    The best starting 5 the yankees could throw would be CC, AJ, Wang, Joba and Hughes.

    If you want Hughes in the rotation to get the best 5 starters there it doesn’t only have to be a Hughes for Wang switch.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I like your thinking, CB.

    • Evan NYC

      ANDY PETTITE IS A STARTING PITCHUH!

      Sorry, had to do it.

    • YankeeScribe

      Not a bad idea but I doubt the Yankee front office or Pettite would approve…

      • http://bigbluepinstripes.blogspot.com/ LB

        Let’s not forget Lord Francesa :o)

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

      In Andy Pettitte’s last five starts, he’s given up 1, 4, 2, 5, and 1 earned runs. He’s pitching just fine. There’s no need to remove him from the rotation.

  • Stevis

    Hughes NOW!!!!!
    enough with Wang, always excuses,he still lost

    • jsbrendog

      how wonderfully stubborn and shortsighted of you. because we should never take the situation into account.

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

      YEAH!!!!!

      David Price got pummeled by the Phillies last night. SCREW THE EXCUSES, SEND HIM TO THE BULLPEN!!!!!!

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        My GF lives down by Philly and she told me the score of the game in the first inning was 6-0. I assumed the Rays had teed off on Moyer. Me = wrong.

      • Tampa Yankee

        ietc. Its such a double standard for the Yanks young pitchers. If Joba and Hughes are not #1 guys right from the start the “[insert pitcher’s name here] to the ‘pen!!1!1!” nonsense starts. But the “best sp prospect in baseball” is wild and gets lit up and nothing is mentioned. F’n hypocrites.

      • Ivan

        I THOUGHT YOUNG STARTING PITCHERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO FAIL. THIS IS ABSURD.

  • GG

    Gotta stick with Wang; hate to steal words out of Michal Kay’s mouth, but if you take Wang out of the roto, You’ve destroyed an asset…he does nothing at that point while Hughes is great in his current role, even if we all rather him be a starter

    • JP

      False choice. Wang can pitch out of the bullpen, too.

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

        Wang pitching out of the bullpen doesn’t really help him be a starter. Not enough regular work, not enough opportunity to get in a groove, turn a lineup over multiple times.

        Besides, Wang’s always struggled on irregular rest.

        • Bo

          I thought good starters also make good relievers???

        • JP

          Right, but you can argue that Wang’s not subject to the Verducci/DaVinci rule, so it makes more sense to write off his season this year and maximize Hughes’s innings first. Wang can get back to starting form in the off-season and next year.

          Not saying that’s what they should do, but there’s nothing wrong with that option.

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

            Except for the fact that it wastes one of our starters for this season.

            We’re going to want Wang available and fixed for the stretch run.

            • Ivan

              But aren’t ya sorta wasting Hughes, considering he’s just Wang’s caddy? It’s a tough spot either way.

              Your going on assumption or thinking that Wang will right himself become the Wang of 06-08, thus will produce more as a starter than Hughes as a starter from this point foward. However, that’s very dicey, cuz what if Wang doesn’t right himself, and becomes in 09 a below average SP. You’ll be kicking ur self for not starting Hughes earlier.

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

                Which is why we should send Hughes to Scranton and keep him starting, lined up with Wang, so if after another few weeks, if Wang just looks like he’s not going to cut it at all, we can make the switch then.

                It’s too soon to make a switch now, but it’s also too soon to keep wasting Hughes in the pen when he could be pitching 6-8 innings every time out.

                • Ivan

                  Agreed

              • JP

                ‘Zactly. Wang isn’t wasted in the bullpen, is he? Are Hughes innings a meaningless waste?

                I have low confidence in Wang. He isn’t going to pitch much in the playoffs, I’ll bet, if they make it. they’d go CC, AJ, Pettitte in every series if possible.

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

                  All six of our starting pitchers would be “wasted” in the bullpen for one reason or another.

                  Which is why, even though any of the six of them would present a marginal upgrade over the reliever they’d be displacing, the optimal construction is still to put the sixth starter in Scranton, pitching every five days. Right now, that’s Hughes.

  • V

    Wang, while his command definitely isn’t there yet, has looked MUCH better than the beginning of the season.

    (thought experiment: pretend his season started when he came off the DL, ignoring the beginning of the season meltdowns – are we even discussing taking him out of the rotation?).

    I can’t help but think how different his outing look if Pena catches an easy caught stealing ball, an umpire doesn’t botch a play where a guy was out by a foot, and ARod is able to make routine plays at third.

    • Evan NYC

      Wang is turning the corner to get back to where he was as a SP. Last night he could have easily pitched another 2 innings. Leave Wang where he is. This is how they planned on him progressing, so in their eyes all is going according to plan.

      The issue isn’t Wang, it’s the offensive struggles. When they slump (Tex, Swisher, ARod, Damon) it’s not for a few games it’s for an entire month. That is a big problem.

      • Bo

        How many losses will it take for him to get out of the rotation? So, now its all about how he looks for 5 innings? What happened to wins and losses? Results matter. This isn’t spring traning and it isn’t the minors.

        Are they going for the A Young record here?

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

          Ask the offense about wins and losses.

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

            In CMW’s four starts, when he left the game, here’s how many runs the Yankees had scored for him.

            6/4 – 1 run
            6/10 – 1 run
            6/17 – 1 run
            6/23 – 0 runs

        • V

          There really, really, needs to be a blocking mechanism, so I’m not forced to read posts that are this batshit insane (thanks tsjc for that).

      • Jesus

        I think its hard to say he could have gone two more innings completely unscathed. The whole issue with wang has been how terrible he can be for stretches. Wang’s ineffectiveness has been defined by his inconsistency. Just look at the sequence that led the braves to 3 runs, Single, walk, double, double. This start wasn’t one where the braves scratched and clawed for three runs, they got their runs on a ineffective stretch from wang. Against the Nats he threw a 90 plus pitches in 5 innings b/c he couldnt command the zone. The offense has been bad in his las two starts no doubt about it, but we cant dress up inconsitant/ineffective as progress.

        • Evan NYC

          If the offense scores a few runs for him in his last 2 starts and he gets 2 wins under his belt, then we are not having this conversation.

          Don’t blame Wang for these last 2 losses blame the offense, if you can find it…

          • Jesus

            Yea you’re right i am being unfair to him. But let’s say this is what we can expect from wang, a 5.40 ERA with a whip above 1.50 and an avg of 5 ip per start. Is that something thats going to help or hurt the yankees going forward?

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

              It’s going to hurt the team going forward, which is why we need to keep evaluating and monitoring the situation closely and pull the plug when it looks like he can’t pitch any better than that.

              That time hasn’t come yet. He’s still showing signs of improvement.

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

      (thought experiment: pretend his season started when he came off the DL, ignoring the beginning of the season meltdowns – are we even discussing taking him out of the rotation?).

      Excellent point.

      I say no, if those first three starts had never happened and Wang’s first appearance was out of the bullpen on a rehab track on May 22nd against the Phillies, we’d all have tons and tons of patience for him.

      Incidentally, if you wipe those first three outings out, Wang is 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA on the year. Ugly, but not ugly enough that people would be up in arms. If Wang and Hughes were both sporting ERA’s around 6, nobody would be complaining.

      • Evan NYC

        And what if Wang won these last 2 games, which was entirely possible. He is 2-1 with a 5.68 ERA, which looks even better. I think Wang is on the path back to redemption and dropping him now is not a smart move to make.

  • JP

    I want Hughes to reach his innings limit, if possible, this season. I want him starting games. This either means he’s on an every 6 rotation or something if you want Wang starting, or Wang goes to the bullpen.

    I am among the pessimists about Wang, and I don’t think there will be a happy ending with our Wang.

    But I’m less adamant about it now than I was before. While I’m still thinking Wang will at best be a back of the rotation guy, it looks as if he’s not going to go completely supernova and be completely ineffective all season. So if the team thinks we’re better off starting him and using Hughes in the pen, I can live with that.

    I’m totally against sending Hughes to Scranton. I’ll sacrifice 30 innings of potential work next season in order to allow him to continue to build experience and confidence at the MLB level.

    But if they decide to keep Hughes in the bullpen because he’s doing so well there, I’d say it’s ok, because even if he doesn’t reach his max innings this season, next season he still would be eligible to increase his workload to close to 180….the Verducci rule is based on your highest ever previous season, not LAST season.

    • V

      You seem to be among the pessimists, period.

      • JP

        Someone has to balance the extremes on this site: you have the Yankee-Love-In-Cult-Worship-Everthing’s-Fine-Kool-Aid crowd on one side, and the bridge jumpers on the other.

        I like to think I’m a realist.

        • V

          You can think that, but that doesn’t make it true.

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

      I’m totally against sending Hughes to Scranton. I’ll sacrifice 30 innings of potential work next season in order to allow him to continue to build experience and confidence at the MLB level.

      He’s already built a good amount of experience and confidence at the MLB level. Sending him to Scranton allows him to hit his innings goal and continue refining his secondary pitches.

      That experience and confidence doesn’t disappear if he goes back to AAA.

      Sending him back to Scranton helps us a ton.

      • Bo

        You don’t send one of your best pitchers to AAA just to get innings.

        Some development has to be sacrificed for the sake of winning. I’d much rather see Hughes pitch important innings here than 6 innings againt Buffalo.

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

          I’d rather have a good team in both 2009 and 2010.

          There’s oodles of other guys in our org who can pitch 2-3 innings a week in the bullpen not named Phil Hughes. He’s not really contributing that much here at the ML level. He’s not doing anything that Aceves/Robertson/Coke/Bruney/Melancon/etc. can’t do.

          Putting him in Scranton now helps us a ton for 2010 without hurting us at all for 2009.

          • JP

            Really? Look at Yankees runs allowed v. Boston. Yankee starting pitching is arguably better than Boston’s right now…don’t you have to blame the run differential on the bullpen, then? Isn’t Hughes an equal or an upgrade from almost everyone who has pitched in the bullpen this year?

            How many pitchers make more than 180/year anyway? Not many. We’ll be alright with Hughes next season.

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

              Isn’t Hughes an equal or an upgrade from almost everyone who has pitched in the bullpen this year?

              Yes. Is the amount of that upgrade worth forfeiting the chance to have Hughes reach his innings goal and remain on track to start in 2010? No.

              Hughes is better than Melancon. He’s not THAT MUCH BETTER that it’s worth lowering Hughes’s innings total by 30. Those 30 innings, whether at the ML level or the AAA level, are helping Hughes become a better starting pitcher.

      • JP

        He’s already built a good amount of experience and confidence at the MLB level. Sending him to Scranton allows him to hit his innings goal and continue refining his secondary pitches.

        That experience and confidence doesn’t disappear if he goes back to AAA.

        Sending him back to Scranton helps us a ton.

        To borrow your debating strategy, none of that is in any way verifiable, and therefore cannot be argued, tsjc. How do you know he wouldn’t lose his confidence at AAA? What if he goes down there and does mediocre, just a “slump,” and becomes dicouraged because of it? Sending him back to Scranton helps Scranton, not the NY Yankees.

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

          Sending him back to Scranton helps Scranton, not the NY Yankees.

          No, sending him back to Scranton helps the 2010 New York Yankees. And, if circumstances change and things get too dire for the 2009 Yankees and we need him more later than we need him now, he’s easily recalled.

          But, if we don’t send him to Scranton now (while he’s fairly superfluous), we lose the opportunity to have him throw 180 innings. Any marginal utility he currently presents over a different reliever isn’t worth the opportunity cost of having him reach his 2009 innings goal.

          The smart thing to do now is to kick the can down the road and reevaluate in a month or two.

          • http://theyankeebomber.blogspot.com Conan

            2010 Yankees have a 1 yr older Jeter, Posada, and Mariano. Not too many years left in that run. Shouldn’t they focus on this season?

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

      I’d say it’s ok, because even if he doesn’t reach his max innings this season, next season he still would be eligible to increase his workload to close to 180….the Verducci rule is based on your highest ever previous season, not LAST season.

      Which is why he should be trying to get to 180 THIS season instead of only getting to 150. Because then, Joba would be the only starter capped next year.

      • Reggie C.

        Does the cap matter once a pitcher has gotten to a high point of 150 innings in a season? I think there’s zero cap on Hughes next season regardless of whether he gets to 150 or 180 innings in ’09.

        lets see… 32 starts x 6 innings = 192 innings. Yeah. it doesnt matter.

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

          Eh, depends on how closely you follow the Verducci rule. The rule would say that you keep adhering to 30 IP stairsteps until the pitcher is 25, not until they reach 150 IP.

          I haven’t seen much indication from the team that they’re anything but strict constructionists when it comes to innings caps.

  • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

    Well if CC can’t make his start then everyone will get their wish and see Hughes start.

  • Bo

    Why is Hughes the Caddy for the terrible Wang? If he’s in the pen, he should be in the pen. He should be used as a real pen guy and not the caddy. Maximize him.

    • V

      Why does Bo continue to post?

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

        Guys, I not a machine, okay? I just Bo.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I have to say his posts make the least sense of anyone’s here, but I’m barely a lurker, so I probably shouldn’t be offering too forward an opinion.

        I still can’t believe this merits this big a discussion. A two-time 19-game winner, under 30, whose career path has been derailed by a foot injury should not be written off as easily as some people seem willing to do here.

        I have no problem agreeing with Michael Kay on Wang, because Michael Kay’s exactly right on Wang.

        The Hughes innings situation, if not a completely separate issue is, at the very least, “1B” to the Wang situation’s “1A.” My opinion is that, if he continues to pitched 1-2 innings every couple of nights for much longer, we’re all better served with him at AAA until we need him again.

  • yankees=warriors

    How fitting to praise him on his birthday!
    Hope AJ has a cake ready for him (not so he could throw at his face, of course).

  • Ivan

    Wow, 202+ comments, incredible.

  • mryankee

    Hey I have a great idea lets trade all our starters and get Lannen-Hanson-Palmer from Anaheim and stammen and lets add Brad Penny-some of the illustruos wonderful ace picthers who have humiliated the Yankees “vaunted” lineup-I am sory but this is disgraceful when was the last time
    1: Robby Cano did not swing at first pitch and kill rally
    2: Melky Cabrera had a two hit game
    3: Tex hit a home run on the road batting righthanded
    4: Arod actually had any kind of hit anywhere
    5: Joba threw like what he is supposed to be a Verlander type-not a Jaret Wright type
    6: Chien Ming Wang went more than six innings and did not allow three runs
    7: Damon made a fly ball in left look like a pro not a little leaguer
    I am sure there are more and I am sure some of these things have happened more recent than others but I think I have some legitiamte points of complaint about a team that has enough money thrown at it to sned it to the moon and back and has lost series to the Fing Marlins and Nats and in about 10 hrs the Braves-

    • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

      Hey lets all slit our wrists and jump off the Brooklyn Bridge!

      Again as I have said before, teams win, teams lose, over the course of 162 game season there will be stretches when the Yanks look like world beaters and stretches where they lose 2 out of 3 to the worst team in baseball…wake me when its August…if we’re still 6 games over .500 then, then I will bemoan and wail…

    • JP

      1. I’m with you on that one.
      2. He’s not a star. But he’s a good ballplayer. No problem with him.
      3. Nitpicking. He’s been a beast.
      4. Totally with you on that one.
      5. You are so Yankee-centric that you ignore when other young pitchers fail. Joba is doing very well.
      6. I’m with you there, although I’ll admit there are signs he might return to form.
      7. He’s a good outfielder. That’s harsh, everybody screws up once in a while.

  • Hova

    The stat I want to see reversed tonight is Joba’s 24 walks in his last 12 innings. That is scary bad. Hopefully the pitching coaches are pounding that into his head today.

  • MattG

    Wow, 218 posts, and I missed the whole thing. It’s a little too busy today for me to read these thread, but I want to add my 2 cents: I am going to guess the consensus is for Wang to go again, and to get Phil back to AAA. I am against that. At this time, I am ready to call Phil Hughes Wang’s equal. I say it is time to give Hughes the rotation spot, and put Wang into relief until another spot avails itself. Wang can be a weapon in the 5-8th innings, and Hughes can get the innings he needs. Most importantly, in keeps the best pitchers on the major league roster, where they are needed to earn a playoff spot.

  • http://bigbluepinstripes.blogspot.com/ LB

    Happy Birthday Phil Yuuuse

  • Bill R

    AXL wants to know when his ban will be lifted? He misses you all!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Honestly, not any time soon. We were going to make it seven days after the blatantly homophobic comment. But then over the weekend, Axl tried to flood my mailbox with messages from an anonymous e-mail address. Then, he admitted to doing so in a comment he tried to submit. So not only is that a borderline illegal use of a computer, but it’s not going to win him any points with us right now.

      If either you or Axl care to continue this discussion with me, Mike and Joe via e-mail, our addresses are at right. We’re not going to be issuing any further comments on it here.