Overlooking the obvious in the hunt for a starter

Yanks back to normal in 7-2 win
ESPN E:60 feature on Pat Venditte

For four out of five days, the Yankees’ starters have been among the best in the game. CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte have combined to go 41-22 this season with a collective 3.81 ERA. In 606.1 innings, the quartet has allowed 564 hits and 238 walks while striking out 497. The WHIP of 1.32 is a little on the high side, but the K/9 of 7.38 is stellar. This Big Four are primed for an October run.

The other guy — that much-maligned fifth starter — hasn’t been nearly as good. The Yankees have tried Chien-Ming Wang, Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre in the role. Chad Gaudin will make his fifth starter debut later today. As a group, the Yanks’ fifth starters are 6-9 with a 7.79 ERA. In just over 100 innings — that’s 4.1 IP per start — these pitchers have given up 143 hits, and their WHIP clocks in at 1.83. It has been a constant struggle to find a fifth starter, to say the least.

Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal dropped a bullet point on the Yanks’ hunt for a fifth starter. He wrote:

The Yankees inquired about Reds right-handers Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, but backed off when the Reds said they would not include any money in a deal. While the Yankees remain active in their pursuit of a starter, they likely will stand pat and await the benefit of the roster expansions on Sept. 1.

We’ve assessed both Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo when the Yanks nearly acquired him prior to the July 31st trade deadline. There is no need to get into their pluses and overwhelming minuses right now.

Instead, I’d like to ask yet again why the Yankees are continuing to overlook the most obvious answer to their fifth starter problems: Phil Hughes.

Earlier this year, the Yankees tried Phil Hughes in the rotation. He went 3-2 with a 5.45 ERA. In 34.6 innings, he allowed 37 hits and struck out 31. He had one awful start against the Orioles and one very good start. His other five starts were inconsistent, exactly what you would expect from a young starter with great stuff but not enough Major League experience. Prior to Chien-Ming Wang’s comeback, Hughes had seemed to turn a corner, and the Yankees kept him around.

At first, Hughes shadowed Wang, and he really seemed to excel out of the pen. He was throwing harder and was attacking the zone more than he had as a starter. With the Bridge to Mariano unsettled, the Yankees fell in love with Phil Hughes in the 8th inning. He was as lights out as Joba was in 2007, and all of a sudden, Phil Hughes the starter morphed into Phil Hughes the lockdown reliever.

Since the move to the bullpen, Hughes’ innings totals have been meager. He threw just 13 innings in June and 14 innings in July. This month — 18 days through August — Hughes has thrown just 5.2 innings. For comparison’s sake, Sergio Mitre has thrown 14.2 unspectacular innings this month. The 8th inning does not matter more.

On the season, between the Majors and Minors, Hughes has thrown just 87.1 innings, and at this rate with his current usage patterns, he won’t reach more than 105-110 in the regular season. Next year, as a starter, Hughes will be limited to around 150-160 innings. If this sounds like Joba Chamberlain, well, that’s because it is.

With their win last night, the Yankees are 75-45. They have a seven-game lead with 42 left to play, and while it ain’t over ’til it’s over, it’s getting awfully close. The Yanks could stretch Phil Hughes out, give him a few starts, build up his innings and then move him back into the bullpen for the playoffs. The future would thank them, and it would give the Yankees a better solution to the fifth — and fourth — starter issue than Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin will.

Yanks back to normal in 7-2 win
ESPN E:60 feature on Pat Venditte
  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    Isn’t the most likely answer to why they are leaving Hughes where he is that they’re afraid to hurt his arm by attempting a mid-season stretching out? If so, its simple risk management. It may not be the best thing for the club per se, but its probably aligned most closely with the interests of cashman and girardi.

    I.e. imagine the furor if they tried to shift hughes to the rotation and he blew out his shoulder.

  • Bill R in Boston

    If the yankees have a huge lead (~10 games) heading into september should they try to get him more regular work, say 2-3 innings every 3 days. This way they wouldn’t be playing too much yo-yo with his arm like they did with Joba last year but he would get about 20-25 innings in september. This would push his innings total to about 120ish including the playoffs. He would still be limited next year but they would not have as much of a limit as Joba this year. Just a thought!

    • http://BillRfromBoston... johnny miller

      Beantown Bill R is trying to sabotage the Yanks with his silly sawx-esque comments. Keep Hughes in the pen as the 8th-inning guy. Beantown Billy-Boy should spend his time giving his hometown beloved sawx some much-needed advice. Thanks Bill R, but no thanks. GO YANKS!!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/dougchu Doug

        lol wtf

  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    I’d also love to see Harang on the team, regardless of whether the Reds kick back money. He has great peripherals, and has had some rotten luck this year. He’s due about 23M over the next two years, and might thrive if given a chance to get out from under the grasp of Grim Reaper Dusty Baker.

    • JonG

      No thank you.

      • the artist formerly known as (sic)

        I know the w/l is ugly, and the ’08 ERA is ugly, and his actual face is ugly (poor guy), but he strikes out a lot of batters, he doesn’t walk many, and he is extremely durable. and his BABIP is one of the highest in the league.

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

          Harang is having a funny year: his peripherals are either good (K/BB, K/9, BB/9) or decent (4.19 FIP, 97 tRA+) but he’s just not getting the results. He pitches in front of a decent defense too (7th in the NL in Defensive Efficiency, 2nd in the NL in UZR/150). Just a strange year for a strange looking man.

          • Charlie

            if you watch him pitch he throws a lot of pitches down the middle, he’s not real good at spotting his fastball at all. that’s why he gets hit so much

            • the artist formerly known as (sic)

              Nah. He’s giving up a lot of hits because he’s having a particularly unlucky year. BABIP, hombre. BABIP.

    • danielle

      what about justin duchscherer from oakland, he’s suppose to start this week for the A’S and if he is does well i think the yanks should go after him. He could be the 5th starter or reliever who could be hughes replacement. He could be an innings eater and he has proven that he can get AL hitters out and be effective.

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

        Duchscherer’s hurt and hasn’t thrown an MLB inning this year. He was already pushed back once this week, and there’s no indication that he is healthy enough right now to contribute. He doesn’t help the situation.

        • danielle

          yeah thats true. They said he was pushed back due to “non baseball issues” but its still a mystery. He did pitch five scoreless innings in the minors but thats not saying much. I just keep on thinking about what he did last year and maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part. hopefully gaudin wont be a train wreck.

          • Bo

            What is the obsession with justin d? The guys been hurt all year.

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

              I don’t think anyone thinks he’s some kind of savior, he’s just a popular topic of discussion because he’s a guy with a versatile and effective track-record who would likely be very cheap to acquire.

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

      I’d also love to see Harang on the team, regardless of whether the Reds kick back money… He’s due about 23M over the next two years…

      Well, technically, when he’s traded the 2011 club option at 12.75M becomes a mutual option at 14M, and there’s no way in hell Harang doesn’t exercise that option, so he’s on the hook for exactly 26.5M for 2010 and 2011.

      Pass on that ridiculousness.

  • zs190

    Is it really that beneficial? It would take probably 3-4 starts to fully stretch Phil out (would have been easier when he was throwing 40 pitches in some relief appearances earlier) and you then get 3-4 starts for him before you have to get him conditioned for bullpen again. We don’t have concrete evidence for this but seems like pitchers are creatures of habit and this constant shuffling of roles would be harmful.

    We are up 7 with 42 to go, the odds of getting to the playoffs is so high that it is highly likely that we’ll make the playoffs, whether it’s Phil Hughes or Sergio Mitre starting that last 8 starts or so for the 5th spot.

    So what this boils down to whether Phil get 15-20 innings rest of season vs getting say 40-45 innings(I’m guessing 3-4-5 innings for first 3 starts then average 6 for last 5). Frankly I don’t think it’s that big of a deal whether he gets 20-25 innings this year. If it’s really crucial for him to build those innings, I would prefer he get it in winter ball. (Puerto Rico?)

    • mustang

      “Is it really that beneficial? ”

      With a 7 game lead this late probably not but its same old RAB cry of “Hughes should be starter this year” we been hearing for months. It’s seemed just as bad as the Joba or Hughes to the pen people.
      The Yankees seem to have a plan in place for their young guns and it seem to be working. Lets practice some of the patience we preach about so much and let experts do their job Hughes will be a starter soon enough.

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

        “The Yankees seem to have a plan in place for their young guns and it seem to be working. Lets practice some of the patience we preach about so much and let experts do their job Hughes will be a starter soon enough.”

        You see, that’s the thing, though… Hughes in the ‘pen clearly wasn’t part of the plan, it was a move made on the fly because they were stuck with Wang on the roster and determined it would be better to give Wang starts than Hughes. Then, on top of that, he hasn’t been used in a manner that’s conducive to transitioning him back into the rotation. The Yanks started Hughes in AAA this year so he could pitch as a starter and then only brought him up to MLB when they needed another starter; the plan was clearly that he should be starting games this year, not coming out of the ‘pen. I think most of the people who comment here, at least those people you’re referring to in your first sentence, are usually behind Cashman’s moves, but this move actually seems to have been made on a whim, for very short-term goals, and that’s why people have trouble with it. It seems like a deviation from the plan.

        • mustang

          “are usually behind Cashman’s moves, but this move actually seems to have been made on a whim, for very short-term goals,”

          And what’s wrong with thinking about the short-term goals? The objective here is for The New York Yankees to win first and to develop Hughes second or at the same time. By the way they treated Joba we can see how careful they are with their kids I think they know what they are doing.
          Yes they maybe deviation from the plan a bit, but if that happens to lead them to a championship wouldn’t it be worth it?

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

            “And what’s wrong with thinking about the short-term goals?”

            “Yes they maybe deviation from the plan a bit, but if that happens to lead them to a championship wouldn’t it be worth it?”

            Look, the question of whether the Yankees should let short-term interest override their long-term plan is different issue altogether, and you’re assuming that I was railing against considering the short-term over the long-term when I really said nothing of the sort. My point was just that you said that ‘the Yankees have a plan and people should be patient and let them work with their plan,’ when really the Yankees had a plan that they deviated from, and that’s really what troubles people.

            As for the other question, the question of whether the Yanks are right to consider the short-term over the long-term… I think the argument against it, in this case, is that making Hughes a middle-reliever likely was not the cause of the Yankees having a good year and leading their division, so yeah, I’d prefer if the plan was adhered to and the guy was either starting in the minors or, as he most likely would have been doing since Wang went down, starting in MLB. I reject the assertion that the Yankees wouldn’t be in first place if Hughes wasn’t a middle reliever and instead went down to AAA when Wang was activated and then was brought back to MLB as the 5th starter when Wang when down again. There’s nothing wrong with considering short-term goals, but making knee-jerk reactions with relatively nominal short-term benefits (if any) that sacrifice the strength of long-term plans? That I don’t agree with.

            • mustang

              I respectful disagree I think this formula is working why mess with it. Hughes is young enough he has lots of time to develop and maybe just maybe he is picking up some experience in the pen this year that will make him a better starter in years to come.

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

                See below. You seem to think I said something (that I want Hughes moved back to the rotation now and then moved back to the ‘pen for the playoffs) that I never said.

                • mustang

                  My bag

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

                  No worries.

          • Ed

            Yes they maybe deviation from the plan a bit, but if that happens to lead them to a championship wouldn’t it be worth it?

            Phil Hughes pitching 5.2 in the month of August does not have any significant impact on the team. In the big 4 game set against Boston, he pitched to a whopping 2 batters.

            If he was getting a workload similar to what Aceves gets, you’d have a good point. Using him like this has an insignificant impact on the major league team and sets back his development.

            With the small role he has, sending him to AAA and calling up Albaladejo or Melancon would have a very minimal impact on the team but would develop Hughes further. If Hughes took the fifth starter spot, he’d be no worse than Mitre or Guadin and quite likely be better, and it would help his development.

            • mustang

              “and calling up Albaladejo or Melancon ‘

              Wait a minute didn’t they try that and what were the results? Why is Hughes in the pen in the first place?

              • Ed

                Albaladejo started the season rough, but worked out his kinks and dominated in AAA. He was effective in his brief stints later in the season.

                Melancon was barely used, but seemed to be effective after some issues adjusting at first.

                Hughes was put in the pen because Wang was considered more worthy of a rotation spot than he was. He happened to be effective there, so he stayed. He was not in any way put into the pen because the pen needed him.

                • mustang

                  “He was not in any way put into the pen because the pen needed him.”

                  We are watching different teams then.

                • mustang

                  If I remember correctly Hughes first role in the pen was to back up Wang, but at the time the Yankees still had no answer to the 8th in role. As it became clear that Wang was going to stay in the rotation and Hughes became effective as a reliever Hughes was moved to that 8th in role.
                  To say “He was not in any way put into the pen because the pen needed him.” is a bit off.

                • Ed

                  To say “He was not in any way put into the pen because the pen needed him.” is a bit off.

                  No, it’s not. As you said yourself, he went there as emergency backup for Wang. He stayed there strictly because he was really, really good at the role. If he was even average, he would’ve been starting in AAA.

                • mustang

                  Bottom-line none of the guys you name were the answer to 8th innings role a need Hughes fulfilled that need.

        • mustang

          Again the way they are playing in a few weeks the 5th starter is going to become a none issue anyway. I think the risk out weight the benefits on this one.

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

            “Again the way they are playing in a few weeks the 5th starter is going to become a none issue anyway.”

            And, in that case, if Hughes were left as a starter all season to that point, he could easily be transitioned into the bullpen at the end of the season in preparation for the playoffs. And voila, you would have gotten a year of development out of Hughes, largely at the MLB level, as a starter, and you’d still have your bullpen piece for the post-season. Everyone’s happy.

            “I think the risk out weight the benefits on this one.”

            The risks of what outweigh the benefits of what on this one? I’m sorry, I’m not being sarcastic, I just don’t get what your last sentence means.

            • mustang

              So your going to for second time this season make him back into a starter and later return him back to the pen for the playoffs?

              Don’t you thinking that may cause a little harm?

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

                “So your going to for second time this season make him back into a starter and later return him back to the pen for the playoffs?”

                Slow down, I never said that. Seriously, look back at my comments. I never advocated moving Hughes back to the rotation right now and then moving him back to the ‘pen for the playoffs. All I’ve said is that he never should have been sent to the ‘pen in the first place, and that even if he was a starter all year they could have easily put him in the ‘pen at the end of the year in preparation for the playoffs. What I was saying was that I wish they had adhered to their original plan instead of freaking out and changing it on the fly. I don’t know where you got the other stuff from.

                I agree with you to a degree, I don’t want them to jerk these kids around and keep switching their roles. Now that Hughes is in the ‘pen, the most conservative move is probably to leave him there for the rest of the year, sure. Moving him back to the rotation now, only to move him back to the ‘pen for the playoffs, like you said I was saying, is the absolute last thing I would ever advocate. That said, to be honest, the transition from the rotation back to the ‘pen doesn’t scare me much, that doesn’t seem like that difficult a move to make… It’s the stretching him back out to start at this point that I think is the tougher move, and since it’s for a relatively short period, I’d pass.

                • mustang

                  I think we agree more then disagree on this one. To be honest I wasn’t crazy about making Hughes into a reliever, but they did it and I really can’t question the results.

                • mustang

                  But I want him to be a starter next year a point that I’m sure is going to come up.

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

                  Yeah, we do. But I do think you can still question the Hughes-to-the-‘pen move, whether he’s been good in that role or not. Like I said above, I find it kind of implausible that the Yanks would not be in first right now if, instead of pitching a few innings per month out of the ‘pen, Hughes had been sent to AAA to start when the Yanks freaked out and activated Wang and then was brought back as the 5th starter when Wang went down again for good. This team would probably be in just about the same position, if not better, had they not moved Hughes to the ‘pen, AND Hughes’ development plan would still be intact and he’d be able to take on an expanded role in 2010 as a big league starter.

                  But anyway… Yeah, I’m with you… I don’t think they should move Hughes back to the rotation for a few starts just to turn around and then put him back in the ‘pen for the playoffs. At this point, it’s probably best to just leave him in the ‘pen. The mistake was already made, long ago, and now they need to do the smartest thing moving forward.

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

                  ” At this point, it’s probably best to just leave him in the ‘pen for the rest of 2009. The mistake was already made, long ago, and now they need to do the smartest thing moving forward.”

                  Fixed, for clarity. Obviously I think he should be a starter moving forward. Just not for the next couple of months.

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

            Again the way they are playing in a few weeks the 5th starter is going to become a none issue anyway. I think the risk out weight the benefits on this one.

            That would be true, if we hadn’t already admitted that we have a vested interest in not only upgrading the poor performance from our 5th starter spot but also skipping our 4th starter, Joba, as much as humanly possible to prevent him from pitching too many innings.

            The Joba part of this equation makes the 5th starter a bit more important, because we really only have 3.5 starters besides that fifth starter.

      • zack

        “The Yankees seem to have a plan in place for their young guns and it seem to be working.”

        I’m sorry, did I miss something? As far as I can tell, it isn’t working at all, whether we are talking about injury or success. Joba got hurt last year and has been inconsistent at best, and Hughes has had his development as a starter stunted by being in the pen and we still have no idea whether this success will translate to starting. Oh yeah, and then their is Kennedy.

        In what way, exactly, have the Yankees given you any confidence in their handling and coaching of “the kids” at the ML level? Sure, they might have a plan with Joba now that seems alright, but it certainly wasn’t the most graceful. And as already mentioned, its not like Hughes is following ANY plan. Basically, they are getting good results from him in the BP and can’t envision him anywhere else for this season.

        • mustang

          I kind of see your point, but as I have been reminded here time and time again young starter don’t develop over night.
          The Yankees have a very difficult task of trying to develop their kids while still putting a championship product on the field. I think they are doing a great job with both.

  • rmel

    I think they really like Hughes in the Pen…His stuff plays much better there…I would not be stocked if his future is there…and lets face it Andy probably will come back…you can always find a 5th starter next year…One big reason we have a big lead is Hughes in the pen

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

      No. Andy Pettitte should not be back next year and Phil Hughes in the bullpen is an absolute waste of his talent.

      Do you think the Rangers should keep Neftali (very cool name) Feliz in the bullpen? After all, his stuff plays much better there.

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

        I think Andy comes back, if he wants to of course. They need someone to take over the spot vacated by Wang.

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

          That’s true. However, there’s a piece of me that thinks Andy won’t and shouldn’t be back. Though he’s pitched well recently, I’d wager on Andy being more the guy we saw in May and July rather than the guy we saw in April and August.

          • joey

            I dont think Andy will be back next year. There are some interesting FA’S next season such as Lackey, washburn, rich harden, webb (who has a club option) and of course halladay so the yankees have some good options. Also there is ian kennedy who i dont expect to the yankees first option for the 4th or 5th starter.

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

              Halladay isn’t a FA during this offseason. I also don’t think they’ll look at any of those guys since they’d probably require longer deals (except maybe Harden who could do a one year deal). I have said in the past I’m definitely in favor of there being a big open competition for the 5th spot including Kennedy, Nova, Z-Mac, etc. during spring training in ’10.

              • 27 this year

                I have one problem with the open competition because any of those guys will be on innings limits and with the way injuries happen, we will be left with little depth. Hughes will have an innings limit and the fifth starter will be a rotating door but what if like this year, our depth (Aceves, Hughes, Kennedy, and others) are injured or moved to other roles. I feel like those guys should be competing for the 6th starter job should someone go down.

            • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

              Webb’s return is TBD not exactly a guy you sign to fill an immediate spot in your rotation. Arizona will probably take his option even with the rehab.

              Washburn is the exact type of FA the Yankees should avoid–someone who will be rather overpaid for what he gives you.

              Harden/Lackey will get long term deals.

        • Makavelli

          How mad do you think Cashman is for signing Igawa for almost the same amount of money they could have gotten Ted Lilly for?

          Then again, getting Ted Lilly could have ultimately changed further decisions to get Burnett, etc…so who knows.

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

          So, let’s assume Andy comes back for next season:


          Then if Wang returns what do you think they do? Hope that Hughes has hit his limit by then? Do what they’re doing now with Joba/Gaudin/Mitre but with Hughes/Wang? That could work, I suppose.

          • jsbrendog

            they are not (and should not) counting on anything from wang for 2010.

            if he does contribute, it is gravy and they will gladly face that problem ith a smile

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

              True, true. Color me optimistic then.

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

                Yeah. 2010 Wang will likely equal 2009 John Smoltz or Pedro Martinez. You won’t see him before the ASB, and only then if we have an opening in the rotation and Wang looks good during a rehab start.

          • Makavelli

            How much longer are these innings limits going to last on all of our young pitchers?? It’s been quite some time now…

            • jsbrendog
              • Makavelli

                what is this?

                what happened to actual responses?

                • jsbrendog

                  look it up yourself. we’re nto here to let you know how the verducci rule works. you have the internet.

                • Makavelli

                  But that doesn’t answer the question I asked. I didn’t ask what Tom Verducci’s rule on innings limits should be.

                  I asked what the Yankees rule is.

                  Is this what you do? Insult the person who asked a question to which you wrongfully answered?

                • jsbrendog

                  you aske dhow much longer these inningslimits will last. they will last until they turn 25 or they reach 200 innings AS PER THE VERDUCCI RULE.

                  there are exceptions. is it gospel, no. is it what almost every team BASES their decisions on somewhat to some degree or another, yes.

                  so i didnt “misanswer” anything. educate yourself.

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

                  Did he insult you?

                  Is it insulting to tell someone to look something up yourself? That’s not an insult.

                • jsbrendog

                  aske dhow

                  everybody drink

                • Ed

                  No one knows exactly what the Yankees are planning. Each team has their own ideas on how to go about things, but most teams use some variant of Verduccui’s idea. The Yankees may feel that 40 innings is safe rather than 30. Or they may go off some other factor like pitch count. But from what we’ve seen, it seems pretty safe to assume they won’t increase a pitcher’s workload by more than about 40 innings, give or take a little. There’s also been some comments to suggest that the Yankees use a pitcher’s previous max as the baseline rather than the previous year’s total like Verducci does.

              • Tampa Yankee

                jsb, you notice what came up first in the search for “the verducci rule”… RAB bitches!

                • jsbrendog

                  total world domination.

            • Jersey

              I’ll avoid the dickish response here and point you to a prior RAB post here that breaks it down.

              • Makavelli

                So I’m assuming the Yankees don’t have their own rule and they are using Tom Verducci’s “rule” instead apparently??

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

                  We don’t, and probably never will, know the Yankees exact feelings on the subject, so we can only look to popularly accepted theories as a guide.

      • zs190

        I don’t think that’s a good example for your argument, there is a decent contingent of really knowledgeable guys(KLaw, Callis) that said there is a decent chance that Feliz is a bullpen arm in the long run.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Yeah, there’s a chance he won’t hold up as a starter, but his stuff is flashy as shit, and they will give him every opportunity to succeed as a starter before they move him to the pen long-term.

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

          Fair enough, but I’m of the mindset that he should at least be tried as a starter first and given the chance to fail. Amend what I said, then, to Chamberlain. His ’07-’08 situation is somewhat similar to that of the Phranchise in ’09.

          • zs190

            Yeah, I agree that it would be wasteful to have Hughes in the bullpen, definitely should start next season.

  • Chris V.


    Technically, can’t Hughes throw 180 innings next year b/c his high innings total is 140 a few years back? 180 is not such a bad thing since Joba should be close to 200 next year. Hughes will be the 5th starter next year.

    I don’t really think the 5th starter matters anymore this year with a sizable lead. At this point in the season Hughes is probably more valuable as a reliever, might as well leave him there and let him start next year.

    • mustang

      So agree

      • Bo

        They won’t mess with him.

  • A.D.

    I’m surprised they haven’t used Hughes for more 2 inning stretched instead of some of the match-up they have used. Fine you put him in the pen, at least get him some innings.

    • zs190

      I’m sort of confused by that too. Despite Ace’s struggles lately and some arm fatigue, Joe still runs him out there for 45-50 pitches instead of using Hughes. I hate the 8th inning role so much, right now Hughes is so good in 8th that he’s pigeon holed into that role now, so Joe doesn’t use him unless it’s a close game in the 8th, that’s the biggest problem.

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

        Absolutely! Bring him in for the 7th. I’d like to see if he could be the Mo to Mo’s Wetteland, shorten the game to six innings while we are interested in winning a championship.

  • Makavelli

    Say they do turn Hughes back into the 5th starter…

    What happens in the playoffs? Hughes goes BACK to the bullpen?? And you STILL arbitrarily start Joba Chamberlain on sporatic days rest??

    • teix is the man


      • Makavelli

        “message board”

        • Teix is the Man


    • A.D.

      Yes, that’s exactly what they’re proposing, presumably if Hughes was lights out and Joba struggled for the next 1.3 months they could consider Hughes in rotation and Joba in pen.

      • Makavelli

        Which leads us to…which is the best way to stretch Hughes back out? Longer pen sessions assuming our current 5th starter won’t do well? What if he all of the sudden starts doing well? Or do we send him down to the minors to get stretched out?

        Or perhaps we just have him start a few games with limits…stretching him out…and bring in the Mitre/Gaudin combo to finish off the game maybe?

  • Kiersten

    I think the Yankees’ FO has been really awesome of late and that leads me to believe that if they’re not moving Hughes back into the rotation, there’s a good reason for it. They’ve learned from their Joba mistakes and don’t want a repeat with Hughes. They know he’s a better option than Mitre, but they also know that they have a 7-game lead with Mitre in the rotation and there’s no reason to mess with Hughes’ routine this late in the season when the playoffs are all but a lock.

    • pete

      agreed. you’re not going to be starting hughes in the playoffs anyways, why bother jerking him around like this? at this point this team doesn’t need to be at its optimal construction to make the playoffs, and stretching hughes out mid-season for a few starts, only to return him right back to the bullpen, all for the sake of his future, seems a little counter-intuitive.

      Let’s say hughes begins the year as the fifth starter next year, with a 160-165 IP limit. Why not have him start until he gets to about 150-155, then give him a week’s By this time it’d probably be around august, at which point some combination of Wang, IPK, Ace, and Z-Mack could likely flesh out the fifth spot?

      Thus by 2011 you have a rotation of CC, AJ, Joba (unlimited), Hughes (barely limited), Wang/IPK/McAllister/PTBNL (unlimited or barely limited), with some combination Brackman, Bleich, Betances, ManBan, Marshall, and others hopefully capable of contributing at some point in the year, either as fill-in starters or bullpen arms. This would give us a (hopefully) very strong 1-4 (like this year, only joba will hopefully be better) and a plethora of viable 5th starter candidates.

      • mustang

        “him right back to the bullpen, all for the sake of his future, seems a little counter-intuitive”

        THANK YOU

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

          I’m actually with Mustang here.

          I’ve advocated all summer long moving Hughes back to the rotation, but I’m not going to call for it if it’s only to move him back to the pen for the playoffs. There’s no point in stretching him out just for a month.

          If we’re stretching him out, it should be to keep him in the rotation and move Joba to the pen for the playoffs, which is still the smartest idea.

      • A.D.

        with some combination Brackman, Bleich, Betances, ManBan, Marshall, and others hopefully capable of contributing at some point in the year

        Bliech is the only pitcher with a realistic chance to contribute at the ML level next year.

        IPK, WDLR & Nova is a more realistic group to contribute

        • Jim

          He did say 2011, not 2010, so I think his point holds up.

          • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

            Bleich is still the only one out of that group likely to sniff the majors in 2011, unless any of them have some amazing pitching revelation and get seriously escalated through the system (which would be cool with me).

        • JMK

          He was talking about 2011.

          • JMK

            Didn’t refresh my page from 11:52. Disregard my comment (which Jim answered).

  • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

    They need to move Hughes back to the starting rotation. Give him a shot and see if he can take that BP approach of attacking hitters to the starting rotation. We all know he will lose probably 2-3 mph on the fb but I still belive that he can dominate a lineup.

    With Bruney looking better, Robertson coming into his own and the starters going long why not do it?

  • joey

    the yankees are 7 games on top of their division despite the fact that they dont have a consistent 5th starter so it obviously hasn’t hurt them so far. I think we could survive with mitre and gaudin as long as they dont pitch against boston or the angels. As of now it seems like we will make the playoffs so the 5th starter wont mean a thing. We also have a couple of options in the minors so i dont think the situation is as bad as we think.

  • jsbrendog

    yeah why are they ignoring the obvious?

    sidney ponson

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

      Mo just killed a kitten.

      • jsbrendog

        just doing my part to help control the pet population

        /bob barker’d

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


    • A.D.

      Padilla, then they can bring him in to head-hunt guys.

    • Bo

      Not a day doesnt go by without the Ponson joke by brend dog

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

        Not a day goes by where Bo, the least funny commenter in internet history, complains about someone else not being funny.

        • jsbrendog

          plus i haven’t even really posted much, let alone made a ponson joke since AT LEAST friday. I’m scarce on weekends and had things to do Monday so I wasn’t at work.

          sorry bo, but as usual you = teh epik faile

  • kevin

    Even though Harang is paid 1-2 money and is more a 3-4 guy, I think he would be a good fit. He does give up to many hr’s but he does strike a lot of guys out over his career. We have built our staff with strikeout pitchers and I think he would be a good fit for this year and next.

    Although getting cincy to pay some of his contract would make it an easier move to make

    • A.D.

      Issue for Harang is having to pay him that big chunk next year for a guy who just isn’t worth that much.

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

        And the year after that.

        12.5M for 2010, 14M for 2011.

        Hells no.

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

      “Even though Harang is paid 1-2 money and is more a 3-4 guy, I think he would be a good fit.”

      I think the problem is more that he’s more of a 4-5 guy, and probably a 5 on the Yankees, being paid 1-2 money. Harang has had a nice career but i think his reputation has actually been inflated by the fact that he had a few good years which went all but unnoticed by all but fantasy baseball players, who then touted him like he was the second-coming. I guess what I’m saying is… I think the backlash to the lack of attention he used to get actually led to him being overrated at this point in his career. He didn’t get the attention when he deserved it, and now that he’s getting it, it’s too late and he’s on the downside of his career. His numbers are trending down, he’ll be 32 in 2010, and he’s been a pretty average pitcher in the NL the last couple of years. Put a guy like him in the AL East and I’m afraid you’re looking at a #5 starter. He’s probably being paid too much for that role.

  • Brian M

    The artist formerly….. is right. You cannot keep shifting a young guy between the rotation and the pen.

    The tried to shove Aceves in there and his shoulder didn’t react too well, with Hughes you simply can’t take that risk and especially not for the sake of about 7 more starts, at least half of which our offense will hammer out about 7 or 8 runs anyway.

    So given that Mire will are going to win about 3 out of 7 starts from Mitre anyway is it worth moving Hughes to the rotation in the hopes of winning maybe another 2 of those games, while leaving the pen so shaky that we will likely loose 2 quality starts from other guys? And are you sure Hughes would be able to suddenly mix in more off-speed stuff and dominate as a starter? It makes no sense, and would simply risk his health and his form for nothing.

    Next year Hughes will be in the mix for the rotation but this year they have to leave him where he is. I mean come on do you really trust Bruney in the 8th?

    • JMK

      My heart says “no” (because I’ve wanted Phil starting all year, most likely), but my head says “yes”. Isn’t that how a pop song goes?

      /100% man
      //Acknowledging that testosterone is leaving en masse with each passing pop reference
      ///Soon will be drinking beer to regain fortitude

      • JMK

        I remember. It’s “Genie in a Bottle”!

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

          You know how I know you’re gay? Because you listen to Coldplay.

          • JMK

            And it was all jaundiced. Great song!

  • Brian M

    BTW at the break I would have loved it if they added someone like Washburn, but with so few starts left for the no 5, and with us enjoying reasonable success in Mitre’s starts I don’t see why it would be worth spending money to bring in another average pitcher.

    Better the devil you know, especially when he is playing for the minimum.

  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    If this is what you’re referencing (http://riveraveblues.com/2009/08/overlooking-the-obvious-in-the-hunt-for-pitching-16089/#comment-539086), then what I was trying to say is not necessarily that Hughes isn’t physically capable of doing it, because he may well be. Rather, its that it poses an increased risk, and given how well the team has been playing it, that risk may be outsized. Therefore, it may be in Cashman and Girardi’s short-term interest to “leave well enough alone”, even if that isn’t necessarily the best guarantee of the long-term success of Hughes as a starter and the long-term success of the ballclub.

    It’s a classic organizational misalignment of interest, if it is indeed occurring.

    Of course, they may just like Sergio Mitre a lot. In which case I’ll go cry quietly in the corner.

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      GD, that was supposed to be a reply to Brian M @ 10:33.

      Apologies in before “pls. use the reply button”.

      • Brian M

        I don’t think that after so long in the job Cashman makes these sort of decisions based on his own job security. If he did he wouldn’t send out Mitre every 5th day. Yankees fans have grown to expect all-stars at every position over the last 5 years. It is crazy of-course but that is the way it is. Losing a game with Mitre starting is always going to get some fans riled up.

        Ultimately though Cashman knows that the best thing for him is to do the best thing for the team. We are going to win the division now. The Rays can’t get it together and Boston aren’t going to make up much ground with only 2 reliable starters. Cashman is thinking playoffs now, he won’t admit it but he is.

        In the playoffs we don’t need 5 starters. So are we going to have a season in which Hughes begins as a starter then gets moved to the pen and adjusts to throwing on consecutive days, and then gets stretched out again and then for the playoffs goes back to throwing on consecutive days?

        Even if he does come through without an injury, can we really expect a young guy to throw well in both the rotation and the pen when we are messing him around like that?

        Isn’t it inevitable that he’d have a few dodgy starts, and a few great ones? In other words, it wouldn’t really give us a 5th solid starter and in reality although his talent is on another level from Mitre, in the short term he couldn’t give us a big upgrade in the rotation. Our offense is so strong that we are winning half of Mitre’s starts and with the rosters expanding soon even if he averages 4 or 5 innings, the pen can pick up the slack.

        Losing Hughes from the pen would send it back into chaos though as Girardi would go back to a Russian roulette game of who can I trust today?

        Long term he probably belongs in the rotation. He is a talented guy and has shown he can pitch effectively long into games. This year though instead of gaining good innings we would simply waste his innings by putting in him in impossible situation, and by weakening the pen we’d possibly waste quality starts from the other starters as well.

  • Brian M

    I think Andy comes back next year for the same reason as he did this year – stability. He is a proven performer in NY and someone Cashman knows can give him a decent number of quality starts at a reasonable cost.

    Cashman also knows he needs to start the season with 7 or 8 solid options for the rotation though (this yr Hughes, Kennedy and Aceves were options 6,7,8).

    If Kennedy does well in winter ball he will be a good backup, Aceves will likely be longman and emergency starter again, but I imagine Cashman will want someone else in the mix too. It is a bit risky to have Z-Mac or Novo as that guy at the season’s start – most years we end up needing options 9 and 10 at some point.

    If they can get him on an incentives based 1 or 2 yr deal I would love to see them pick up Bedard. He won’t cost them a 1st rounder because he has been out so much but could be an amazing wildcard for the team.

    • jsbrendog

      bedard couldn’t handle ny. he whined and moaned when they expected him to be an ace in seattle. he needs an under the radar town. put him in KC with greinke and meche and bannister and they’ve got a pretty good rotation for that division.

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

        He also just had arthroscopic shoulder surgery, and it revealed a labrum tore.

        Pass. Big time.

        • Brian M

          I wouldn’t guarantee him much, but with an incentive based contract he’d be a nice addition as a 6th option for the rotation.

          You definitely can’t rely on him to be healthy but if he can make 15-20 starts he’d be worth having.

          As for the whining, he probably said some stupid things, but then he settled in OK and his numbers have been amazing. To keep coming off the DL and immediately be successful, and previously to not only pitch in the AL East, but pitch for Orioles (meaning you are facing the tougher line-ups in the division constantly) and pitch well. He is good. Really really good. And he is a lefty which doesn’t hurt.

          Unless we spend major bucks there isn’t anyone we could sign who would have anywhere near his talent. He could be for us what Smoltz was supposed to be for Boston.

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

            I’m going to say this again: Erik Bedard has a torn labrum in his shoulder. He’ll pitch again in late-2010 if he’s lucky.

            • Brian M

              Like I said he could be for us what Smoltz was meant to be for the Red Sox.

              Every year we start out with 8 good starters and every year at this time we are scratching around picking up Aaron Small, Shawn Chacon, Sidney Ponson, Sergio Mitre.

              It’d be kinda nice to have a real starter (who has shown he can comeback from injuries and be the same pitcher), ready to step in when the team needs a lift.

              The fact he is injured is the only reason he’ll be affordable, and hence the only reason he interests me at all. And like I said, he’d be the extra option – not the cornerstone of the rotation.

              If he isn’t going to be healthy at all then maybe we pass, but we took this sort of gamble with Jon Lieber, and Bedard has more talent.

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

            I’m with you, Brian, I’m all for spending some money on a injury rehab/potential big-bounceback candidate for the back end of the 2010 rotation.

            Just not Bedard.

            I’d look at Sheets, Duchscherer, and Escobar first, with Hudson and Webb as well if their teams decline their options.

            And Jose Contreras still intrigues me.

            • Brian M

              I love Duscherer too but he has had some issues with stress and is also a finesse guy coming from a pitcher friendly park. Not sure NY and our new stadium would suit him well.

              I’d pass on Contreras but the others are interesting at the right price. I just think they’ll all be able to command more than we’d be willing to offer.

              And I have to say that if healthy I think Bedard is better than all of those guys. I would also like to add a lefty if possible.

            • JMK

              Contreras??!! He could be Elian’s great-Grandfather at this point!

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

              And Jose Contreras still intrigues me.

              Pete Abe could rehash his old person jokes with a new target.

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

                Does the fact that Pete Abe habitually make old-people jokes give me carte blanche to make endless fat-people jokes about him?

                Glass houses, stones.

  • Stryker

    i’ve been complaining about this non-usage of hughes since it was announced he was staying in the bullpen when CMW came back.

    since then they’ve been so persistent in making it known pubicly that there was never a chance that hughes sniffed the rotation – not only did it hurt his development but it’s hurt the team in their search for a 5th starter. i really can’t explain it other than they saw what happened with joba in 2008 after transitioning him from the bullpen to the rotation. hughes also said multiple times that he wanted to stay with the big league team no matter what. it may be a long shot, but it could be that he’s just tired of ‘dominating’ the minors and wants to contribute on a big league level so they honored his wishes? we’ll never know.

    now, the yanks have fucked over phranchise slightly for 2009 but i think it’s good that he’s gotten this influx of confidence coming out of the bullpen in somewhat high leverage situations and blowing guys away with his stuff. so hopefully he retains that confidence in himself/his stuff when he undoubtedly enters the rotation in 2009.

    all that being said, the yankees have won 4 out of mitre’s 6 starts with only one of those being an absolutely horrid start (chicago on july 31st). and let’s face it – there are worse options than running sergio mitre out there every 5 days.

    • jsbrendog

      and let’s face it – there are worse options than running sergio mitre out there every 5 days.

      kei igawa!!!!!!!!!!

      • JMK

        Igawa is the best pitcher we have at AAA. I can’t believe I just said that.

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

          Yeah… but he’s not, though.

          He’s the best OLD pitcher we have at AAA. That’s accurate.

          • JMK

            It just felt so wrong to say. I had to. I couldn’t resist the temptation! I’d trade him for a few of those sweet vending machines they have in Japan if given the chance.

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

              I’d trade him for a few of those sweet vending machines they have in Japan if given the chance.

              http://www.dnxmarketing.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/cokevendingmachine.jpg (safe)

              JMK, that’s the best idea I’ve heard in weeks.

              We could get a walking RedBull vending machine that could follow Swisher around. Or a walking condom machine for Melky when we go on a road trip to the Angels and he wanders around Porn Valley with Mary Carey.

              It’s so good, it’s scary.

    • Stryker

      WHOOPS. what, did i think we were going back in time or something? hughes will be entering the rotation in 2010, not 2009.

  • Charlie

    I completely agree with all of this, but I’ve given up on this. It’s just not going to happen. Cashman and Girardi are just too obsessed with the eighth inning guy. All we can hope is that they stick to their word and move hughes to the rotation in 2010.

  • SM

    Why bring up the strawman ‘The 8th inning does not matter more.’? Has the org ever said this? It seems clear that they have injury concerns (maybe from Joba’s switching around progression last year). Since July yanks are 6-2 in games the fifth starter takes the mound. Granted this is not due to the excellent pitching they are getting from the spot but is from a combination of hitting and good relief. If the mix of yanks plus hitting and plus relief can bail them out to get wins out of the 5th spot half the time (and they have gotten much more) what is the big deal?

    I think the strongest case is that Hughes innings are limited but if injury is a concern and he still helps team I am willing to accept it.

    • Bo

      Ask the Cubs if the late innings matter. Ask the Mets last yr. A shaky bullpen can absolutely ruin a team. See the Yankees in April/May.

      This team took off once Hughes took over.

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

        What about the Yankees last year? They had a good bullpen but missed the playoffs because their rotation was below average. What about the Sox this year? Their pen has been strong all year, but the rotation has been shaky and look where it’s gotten them. What about the Mets? Sure, they had injury issues but their strong ‘pen is almost washed out by a crappy rotation.

        The team also started getting better when the offense clicked and the starters began going deeper into games and pitching more effectively. Hughes was part of the change but he was surely not the catalyst. Don’t you think the Yankees could’ve been (and probably would’ve been) better off with Hughes taking more of Wang’s starts and more of Mitre’s starts? Yeah, they’re in a good place now but they could be an in even better place if Hughes were taking starts from inferior pitchers.

      • SM

        Cubs: Do late innings matter?
        SM: Well of course they matter! All innings are important. You should try and get your best pitchers to pitch the most possible as longs as conditions permit it (injury concerns, multiples pitches to turn over lineups, etc)

        “This team took off once Hughes took over.”
        Correlation does not imply causation

        Also, it should be noted, the team took off after I said “The yanks are about to takeoff”

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

          “This team took off once Hughes took over.”
          Correlation does not imply causation.

          I have nothing to add, I just wanted to repeat that louder to make sure everyone heard it.

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

        This team took off once Hughes took over.

        Yup. It had nothing to do with ARod returning from injury, or Tex coming out of his horrible April slump, or Jeter hitting .348/.408/.475 since June 1st, or CC and Burnett getting over their early adjustment periods and returning to dominance, or Pettitte pitching better as he put his injury further behind him, or Joba maturing as a pitcher and working faster and more economically, or Aceves and Robertson and Coke replacing Veras, Edwar, and Albaladejo on the pecking order in the bullpen, or Peña and Cervelli and Hinske and Hairston upgrading our bench options over the pathetic Ransom and Berroa and Cash…

        No, fuck all that crap, it was all Phil Hughes and the 10 innings per MONTH that he’s thrown since moving to the pen that has made all the difference in the world.

        Phil Hughes is the MVP of the 2009 Yankees. He singlehandedly has propelled us to the front of the class and made us World Series favorites.

        Thanks for opening my eyes, Bo.

  • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

    Right now I’d say that

    1) Joba needs fewer innings (kind of obvious)
    2) Andy needs fewer innings (he’s tired towards the end of the season before and we defiantely need him)
    3) CC needs fewer innings – he’s at 178. I know he’s done 255+ IP 2 years in a row but he’s also been bad in the post season both 2007 and 2008. We need an ace now not a horse…

    Hughes on the other side needs more innings and should probably pitch considerably more going forward

    • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

      with that i mean more 2-3 inning outings even in blow out games

      • Mike HC

        So, you want to give all of our best pitchers less innings, and give Hughes more worthless innings in blowouts? You do know that the Yanks haven’t clinched yet, right? It would not take very long to cut down our lead to only a couple of games.

    • Brian M

      We are already giving both everyday players and starters extra rest so that in the playoffs we will be feeling fresh. Joe has already said he is going to use Gaudin as a starter so he can skip guys to give them extra rest.

      Rosters expand soon and Melancon, Marte, Claggett and Edwar will give us all the help we need to make it through the odd 4 inning start from Mitre.

      Removing Hughes from the pen right now however would simply put Bruney and Robertson on the hook for more and more innings and have them exhausted.

      If we win this upcoming Red Sox series then we can really relax and say the division is ours and rest guys as much as they want. (BTW We are running out Pettitte, Burnett – against heavyweights Penny and Tazawa then a great matchup of a red hot CC against Beckett – who got hammered last night). I like our chances.

      Why do we always need something to panic over? The Red Sox suck. We are going to the playoffs. We have 4 good starters and a solid pen for the playoffs.

      I dispair sometimes – just at our panicking fans not at our (best record in baseball) team.

      • Stryker

        i do not want to see edwar and claggett on the team come september. they were awful and neither of them are anything special. i know it will probably work out that way but i’d be MUCH happier seeing dunn, kroenke, or whelan getting a look.

        • Brian M

          Fair enough. My point is only that short outings form Mitre are really not a major concern.

          Personally I’d love to see Melacon get another shot, and he can go 2 – 3 innings per outing.

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

            Well, maybe you could eliminate Claggett, but Edwar has been pretty decent in AAA and should be fine to soak up low-level innings.

            Come September 1, our ML staff should be 16 men deep.

            6 Starters (in pecking order):

            12 Relievers (in pecking order):

            With that many relievers, and with a doubleheaded goal of resting Joba aggressively but also not throwing a bad starter out there, I think we should move one of the starters currently in the pen to the rotation so that there’s 7 starters for September. Of the options of Hughes, Aceves, Coke, and WLDR, I choose… Aceves.

            Seriously, if we’re going to yo-yo a starter out of the pen for a month and then put him back in, I’d rather yo-yo the about to be 27 year old Aceves instead of the just turned 23 year old Phil Hughes.

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

              Whoops, that should read 18 men deep, not 16.

              I would consider the possibility, however, of DFAing Claggett to give a September spot to either Nova or McAllister, or Kroenke. Couldn’t hurt.

              • JMK

                Hasn’t Z-Mac already been limited due to fatigue?

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

                  Okay, scratch him then.

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

                  Yeah he was given a break but he’s back now and ideally should toss a bunch more innings this year. If he keeps pitching and doesn’t have any setbacks, he can certainly be in that conversation about September spot-starts.

          • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

            I guess my main point was that all our starters need more rest than they’ve been getting, both for the post season coming up and with the eye to the future (AJ and CC are due another $200m over the next 6 years)

  • Brian M

    BTW we have 42 games left, which if Hughes became the 5th starter today would mean about 8 or 9 starts for him.

    But it would take a while to get him stretched out so realistically he could only make 5 or 6 starts. It wouldn’t be easy to go back to starting so he’d likely be average or terrible in about 3 of those.

    Meanwhile Mire has started 6 games and we have won 4 of those.

    Is this really such a terrible situation that we have to blow up the pen, jeopardize Hughes’s health and destabilize the make-up of the team right before the playoffs?

    Erm, no. It would be madness.

  • Bo

    They aren’t moving him. The game isnt played on computers. Even though an extra 30 innings would be more beneficial in theory how do we or anyone know what the effect on the person would be. They wont jump him out of his comfort zone and ruin anything they’ve built up this yr. Theres are a lot of reasons this is the team with the best record. One big one is Hughes solidifying the bullpen.

    • Brian M


    • jsbrendog

      there are soo many things wrong with this comment, just like the one above saying “this team took off once hughes took over”


      • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

        It didn’t?

        • jsbrendog

          coincidence much?

          no. one pitcher going to the bullpen did not cause this team to turn around. AJ Burnett’s run of amazingness that he called right before it happened did. CC sabathia’s reemergence as an ace since those 4 or 5 runs he gave up against the white sox is. andy pettitte having a renaissance is. joba finding some consistency (more so than peviously) is.

          starting pitching and the timely hitting is. In fact, i will even go so far as to say that the additions of hinske/hairston had more to do with the team taking off and sustained success than hughes going to the pen because it solidified a bench and both have been offensively above average since they came over.

          just because the team “took off” around the same time as hughes “took over” means nothing and to say that is why is ignorant via omission of all the factors that actually did cause it.

        • Ed

          Yes, the team took off around the time that Hughes went to the bullpen. Other things that happened starting around that time:

          * A-Rod returned
          * Tex remembered how to hit
          * Albaladejo and Ramirez got optioned to the minors
          * Aceves and Robertson were added to the bullpen
          * Veras was relegated to mop up duty, then later released
          * Mo started pitching like Mo again (remember, he had a 3.97 ERA in early May, and was over 3 as recently as June 25th)
          * AJ Burnett remembered how to pitch well deep into games

          Those things have a lot more of an impact on the team than Hughes pitching 15 innings a month does.

          • YankFan

            How about Cash going to Atlanta to see the team. That was just as important.

        • Stryker

          that wasn’t the sole reason the team took off. there are multiple factors (see: the starting rotation going deeper into games and having great outings, the offense clicking and producing like crazy). it wasn’t hughes alone. again, multiple factors were in play there.

          • Brian M

            Absolutely lots of reasons for the turn around. And every guy who improved helped the others to relax a little more and not press too much.

            But having structure to a bullpen helps everyone relax and prepare better. Having a solid 8th inning guy helps Joe use Mo how he likes to be used. It helps Robertson and Coke know when they will be coming in. And it helps the starters relax because the trust their pen.

            Removing a major part of the team’s success right now and disrupting one of its most consistent players would be absolutely nuts.

            The most important innings Hughes will throw this year will be in the playoffs and those will be as a set-up man. Everything form here on in should be about preparing the team for the playoffs.

            2 months ago it would have been worth a conversation, but moving Hughes to the rotation now makes about as much as sense as moving Jeter to the rotation.

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

      The game isnt played on computers.

      Bo: 1
      Strawman: 0

      • jsbrendog

        i was gonna go there but there was so much else to run with

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

          Don’t worry, jsbren. Tommie was just passing the baton for someone else to make the argument.

          • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

            I just wanted to see how many comments two words could create lol.

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

          i was gonna go there but there was so much else to run with

          Oh, like how when we met in the fantasy football league playoffs last year, I had so much to run with since my team was well stocked with quality point-producing runningbacks like Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ricky Williams, Maurice Morris, and LaMont Jordan, while you had nothing good to run with and were forced to play inferior options like Tashard Choice and T.J. Duckett?

          I’m sure you remember the humiliation you suffered in getting crushed by my juggernaut of a team. A team that went on to win the Inaugural RAB Fantasy Football League Championship, in case you forgot.

          Yeah, looking back on it in retrospect, I’m a little surprised you didn’t just forfeit outright in advance. You had to know going in that–just like Mike, Joe, Jamal, Rafi, Manimal, Vin, Pablo Zevallos, pat, and SAMIAMSPORTS–you didn’t have the wisdom, intelligence, courage, intestinal fortitude, or cranial capacity to be a real challenger to me, which is similar to how you don’t have the personal hygiene, physical attractiveness, or sexual girth to ever be as desirable to a woman as I am. I suppose that even though you knew in advance that you’d assuredly end up defeated and alone, you decided to tempt fate and hope that I’d have an off-day.

          But I don’t have off-days. Because I’m a champion.

          [ Fantasy Football Championship Bragging Rights Name Drop #41 of 1000 ]

        • Tank Foster

          Bo wasn’t making a strawman argument. His “computers” metaphor was clarified in the next sentence, when he addressed the issue of “30 more innings being more valuable in theory.”

          This is not a debating competition, it’s a blog where we use plain english and cut each other slack. There was nothing stupid, strawman, or rash about what Bo wrote; it made perfect sense.

          As for the team “taking off” when Phil entered the bullpen…yes, taken in isolation, that’s an obvious overstatement. But a substantial improvement in the strength of the bullpen relative to where it was during April and much of May has mattered in the Yankees dominance since then.

          You guys sit there waiting for Bo to write anything, and then you pounce.

          Sometimes, the comments here are from the “bizarro world” of baseball. Let me explain–In the real world, people overstate the importance of things like ‘mental toughness,’ ‘clutch ability,’ or ‘winning mentality,’ and even flat statistical things like the importance of batting average, or the importance of relief pitchers relative to starting pitchers. Thank goodness we have the sabermetric revolution to have corrected our errors and misconceptions in these areas.

          But here, in occasional forays into the bizarro world, people try to act as if something like psychology or intuition doesn’t exist at all. Just as we can be stupid about calling a player a ‘winner,’ it’s possible to go overboard and be stupid with quantifiable facts and data, too. Bo brings up a very legit point – namely, that Hughes is having great success as a relief pitcher, and that we don’t really know whether that success will translate if he is switched to a starter now. Maybe he likes being a reliever, and wants to stay there. Maybe he would worry about the different requirements of starting pitching, and would lose confidence in some of his pitches as a starter. There are things which exist and are real but which are not definable or explicable in terms of data or other quantitative analysis. There IS such a thing as psychology.

          The importance of ‘intuition’ or psychology or philosophy or whatever you want to call it may be small in baseball, but it does exist. It’s ok to talk about it.

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

            That’s hot bullshit.

            Saying that Bo isn’t appealing to emotion and arguing against a strawman when he uses well-known buzzwords and loaded phrases like “the game isn’t played on computers” is like saying that Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin don’t mean anything inflammatory or alarming when they talk about “government death panels”.

            Bo knows what he said, and we all do as well.

            • Tank Foster

              And the language in your reply is inappropriate.

              You’re welcome to your opinion. I prefer to read comments for what the words state, not for what I assume the writer’s motivation to be.

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

                I’m sorry if my language in my reply seemed harsh to you, but to be frank, I’m tired of mincing words in regards to Bo. He has a well documented track record of negative commentary with inflammatory pejorative language that he continues to live up to on a daily basis.

                You, and a few other of Bo’s defenders, want us to treat him BETTER than he treats us.

                Screw that. I’m done with that crap.

          • SM

            Bo makes two different arguments.
            1. the effect of a switch to Hughes
            2. Big reason team has best record is Hughes solidified bullpen

            With regards to 1 its a legitimate point to make even if empirical evidence in such areas is weak. Just as you say there is such this as psychology you should also remember the effects of cognitive bias!

            Point 2 is silly.

  • Raf

    i doubt they move Hughes at all. they seem comfortable with him in his current role and are unlikely to deviate from that for such a short stretch. but id like to see him getting more work than he currently is. Hughes shouldnt just come into a game to face a batter or two and finish off an inning.

  • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

    I think the FO has made it clear that he is staying in the pen for the rest of the year. He will get another chance to start next year.

  • Mike HC

    Phil Hughes has been touted for years as a future Yankee Ace. The Yankees have already committed about 140 Major League innings to Hughes starting over the past three years. A rotation spot has finally opened up, and the Yanks choose to keep Hughes in the bullpen and instead go with a guy who was coming off tommy john surgery has not pitched since 2007?

    The Yankees have acknowledged that it takes time coming back from Tommy John, and they were going to be patient with Mitre, yet, they only needed a starter for half the season. So the Yankees essentially expected Mitre to stink for the only time period we needed him for, and still choose to go with him? It makes no sense that Hughes was not starting from the very beginning. No sense.

  • Joba or Hughes-To-the-pen

    HUghes is right now more important in the pen.And like Joba throws harder and pitches better in the pen.THe Yankees starters are real good but there pen is dominate.Don’t mess with a good thing.

    Yes most pitchers can be relievers.It shouldn’t be to hard to find someone who can pitch 6 innings a give up less then 5 runs a game.

  • Jeffrey

    I don’t think the 5th starter spot matters once we get to September. The Yankees can bring up several arms from the minors to join the bullpen. Then if they want the bullpen can start the 5th game in the roation or just pull out Mitre/Gaudin at the first sight of trouble in favor of Melancon, Albaledejo, Ramirez, Kroenke, etc. or any other arm we currently have in the pen. One or two innings of overpowering bullpen arms through a game would surely be more successful than Mitre at the moment.

    As for Hughes, I’d like to see him get more innings out of the bullpen just to build experience and get the innings in. If he does have a limit next year that could be avoided with him pitching in the offseason or just start him slow in 2010 to avoid the Joba situation of extended rest.

    The other possibility is we are seeing Mo 2.0 in Phil Hughes. This team could be addressing short term needs while considering the long term. Wettland mentored Mariano, so Mariano could be mentoring Hughes. Face it, Hughes numbers are better than Mariano’s this year.

    • Mike HC

      There is really no such thing as Mo 2.0. The guy is one of a kind. You will not see a guy like him again.

      • Jeffrey

        Well that might be true, but its more like once or twice a generation. Like Mariano and Trevor Hoffman, although he gets overlooked since the Padres have never done much.

        I just think at this point there are some interesting parallels in both Mo and Hughes early careers.

  • Mike

    Instead of having him start why don’t they just pitch him for three innings every couple of appearances (like they use Aceves) to increase his inning totals?

  • Tank Foster

    I didn’t read all the comments, so sorry if I’m restating something already said.

    To me, the obvious answer to why they aren’t making him a starter is that he’s been so good in the bullpen. That, combined with them not wanting to jerk him around by “converting” him again mid-season.

    Before you flame me with the “starters are more important than relievers” thing – which I agree is correct in general – remember that there are also playoffs to think about. I think the Yankees figure the current top 4 starters are adequate for the playoffs, and Hughes’ relief dominance is a way to leverage him for the playoffs.

    Since the Yankees have streaked themselves into a position where it’s almost impossible for them to miss the playoffs, I think this strategy is the best one. He’ll be a starter next season.

  • Dillon

    Hughes still needs work on all his secondary pitches. His curve and change are inconsistent. Before this bullpen stink his fastball control was bad. He won’t have as big of an impact as a starter, and although it’ll help him to practice those pitches as a starter, I’d rather have him as an effective reliever.

  • ricpantale

    When it comes down to it, The Yankees have no clue with what to do with Hughes now…
    They should have moved him to the rotation awhile ago, but it’s too late now..By moving him to the rotation it would have given him more experience,more time to work out some kinks and help his confidence.. They never even considered it..
    They are ruining Chamberlain with their clumsy handling, and stupid
    theories…Let the kid pitch, stop babying him..
    It bseams they have talented klids, but have no cloue how to use them..

  • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

    Ben, I wonder what the effect on his arm would be with all of the back and forth. I have been pining for your solution all season, but it just isn’t going to happen.

  • misterd

    Where we are right now:

    1. Arguably the best bullpen in the majors.
    2. Four solid starters in the rotation, and the fifth being acceptable enough to get us a win 50% of the time.

    Moving Hughes to the pen will seriously undermine #1, and has no guarantee to improve #2.

    Then there’s point 3:

    3. We’re better than 99% certain to make the playoffs, as is.

    Yeah, there’s a small chance we pull a Flushing, but if that happens it won’t be the fault of the fifth starter. So working with the (very safe) assumption that we make it, we need THIS bullpen in the playoffs. We don’t need a #5 starter. Why risk screwing around with Hughes’ arm or head in order to improve something we don’t really need until, at best, next season?