Aug
01

The most important fifth starter in the history of the universe

By

Since when did fifth starters  become so dire? It’s amazing, you’d think pretty much any team in the league would kill for a front four of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Joba Chamberlain, but no. Yankee fans never have enough. I understand how important it is for the team to add a starter because Joba is eventually going to have to move to the bullpen to control his innings, but please, let’s not act like it’s the end of the world because the Yankees didn’t acquire Brian Bannister, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, or some other career back end starter who’s never lived the AL East life yesterday.

The more pressing issue right now is that the team is making too many mental mistakes. You can live with Andy Pettitte or Sergio Mitre slipping on the infield grass, or Robbie Cano throwing a double play ball wide of first because the runner was right on top of him, that stuff happens. It’s part of the game. It’s when Melky Cabrera throws to the wrong base to show off his arm. It’s when there’s not even someone on second for Melky to throw to the right base to in the first place. It’s when Alex Rodriguez coasts out of the box and gets thrown out by ten feet on second trying to stretch a double. Stuff like that is inexcusable.

Every team loses three of four at some point in the season, multiple times in fact. But the Yankees have looked flat and seemingly disinterested at times during those loses. The roster is loaded with veterans from top to bottom, and these guys should know better, but when they fall into these collective lapses the coaching staff has to step up. You can bet the fifth starter issue will be addressed this month and Mitre will go the way of Tim Redding, Darrell May, and Scott Erickson. That problem will be addressed. But if the team doesn’t get their heads out of their asses, they’ll be looking up at the Red Sox when they come to town next week.

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

    Maybe the Yankees just need a day off. Have they had one since the All Star break?

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

    But what ESPN and Gammons told me the Red Sox made the one of the best moves on the trade deadline.

    If everything in life comes down to Yankees-Red Sox, then any deadline when the Red Sox pull off a major coups and the Yankees trade for a utility guy (Jerry Hairston Jr.) has to dump the Yankees in the old “losers” column, even though they’re obviously not exactly a team in need of a major overhaul.

    “The one thing you have to say in their defense,” one AL exec said, “is they’re rolling. It’s hard to find their fault right now.”

    But if this is a team without a hole, how come the Yankees made a run at Jarrod Washburn and Kansas City’s Brian Bannister? Because they know themselves that they’re one rotation injury from a potentially serious pitching crisis. If they can unearth a little pitching depth in August, we’ll call off the Trouble Watch. But for now, any Deadline Day that passes without a significant Yankees move will be considered by the proper authorities to be an official “loss.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....id=4370512

    Really ESPN. Did you forgot the Sox not only traded away Masterson but their 3/4/5 is currently Buchholz Penny and Smoltz. Which *gasps* is worse than the Yankees.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      What they basically said is that yeah we’re playing better and in first place but didn’t need to make a move but because the Sox have V-Mart clearly they’re better.

      Jackasses.

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

      My favorite part:

      They’re the big-game hunters of Deadline Day. Every year, they pull off something mammoth — by design.

      Oh, really? By “design” they alienated the best non-Pujols division hitter in baseball and pissed in the water to the degree that the situation became untenable and had to dump him for the drastically inferior Jason Bay AND pay his salary?

      That’s savvy Big Game Theo targeting Jason Bay as an upgrade and doing “something mammoth by design”? No, Red Sox “Nation”, that’s doing something mammoth because you fucked up royally and had to hit the panic button.

      • Whitey14

        Theo never cared for Ramirez and would never have signed him to that contract. It’s never personal with this guy and everybody learns it eventually. (See Millar, Kevin who thought he was Theo’s buddy).

        The “mammoth by design” part means they leave themselves room every year to make a deal if they need to, it doesn’t mean the particulars of the deal are worked out in Spring Training. Last year the deal that had to be made was getting rid of a malcontent who cared nothing about his teammates and the bad spots he put them in with his ridiclous sophomoric antics. Is Jason Bay the hitter Ramirez is, obviously not, but he’s a better person and a better fit in the clubhouse. I realize many people don’t care about harmony in the clubhouse anymore, but it still has it’s value. Could the Sox have beaten Tampa Bay in the ALCS with Ramirez instead of Bay, possibly, but who’s to say Ramirez wouldn’t have been faking another injury or watching strikes go by. Paying his salary to me shows how much they wanted him out of there, just like putting him on waivers a few years before.

  • Tony

    Between Wang, Mitre, and their tag team on the bullpen, how many games have been given away already because of this kind of thinking? I’m not looking for Felix Hernandez, but I am looking for a major league baseball player.

  • ChrisS

    The problem, IMO, isn’t the Yankees need a 5th starter, it’s that they need a 4th starter – unless you think Joba’s going to throw 185+ IP this season – and their, arguably, 4th best starter is in the bullpen.

    The problem isn’t that they didn’t get Bannister, it’s that Mitre is in the starting rotation when the best option is in the bullpen. That the team refuses to acknowledge that makes me question the front office’s philosophy.

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

      I don’t think the Yankees planned it they way.

      Remember, only reason Wanger came off the DL when he did was because Joba took a liner off his leg and the Yankees panicked.

      They couldn’t leave Wang in the bullpen and they thought Hughes would be of more help for the moment coming out of the bullpen then pitching in AAA, which is fair enough.

      Wang was actually recovering nicely–a couple rough starts, but getting better each time out. On the July 4th game I was at, he was outpitching Roy Halladay before he got hurt.

      I don’t think the Yankees planned for both Hughes to be in the bullpen AND for Wang to blow out his shoulder in the same season.

      • ChrisS

        I don’t think the Yankees planned for both Hughes to be in the bullpen AND for Wang to blow out his shoulder in the same season.

        I think the shoulder was the problem from the beginning. And after Wang’s April, they should have considered him being out for the season as a very real possibility. Losing IPK early on, too, made starting pitching depth a very real concern. Instead they put two of the AAA starters in the ML bullpen.

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

        I don’t think the Yankees planned it they way.

        It doesn’t matter that we didn’t plan it that way. We had a sound and correct plan, altered it due to a series of overreactions, and now refuse to return to the original sound plan even though all the unfortunate circumstances we were hoping to insure against with our original sound plan have now come to pass.

      • Charlie

        ok, but now they have to correct this problem, and they don’t seem to be doing that

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      IMO they’ll figure out a way for the Jobber to miss some starts so he remains a starter all year long.

      • ChrisS

        And who’ll make those starts? Igawa?

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          No, they go to a four man rotation for a bit.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            And they plan it around off days.

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

              I admire your enthusiasm, but I don’t know how we do that. There’s too many consecutive days left on the calendar to do a 4-man for enough time to skip Joba without burning out CC, AJ, and Pettitte, and the fourth man in that four man sans Joba is still Mitre.

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                Stil, its hard for me to imagine them looking Jeter in the eye or Andy and saying “we’re gonna take one of our best starters (assuming that’s what he is) out of the rotation because his innings limit is up. But don’t worry; he’ll still be in the bullpen for the playoffs.”

    • Billy

      the deals out there would have robbed the yanbkees blind of prospects. i think theyre hoping for the best from mitre while they look for someone on waivers.

      • ChrisS

        The point is that they didn’t need to trade for someone or use Mitre.

  • brockdc

    Amen, Mike.

    Oh, and also…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLMl0CLIDLg

  • Billy

    i know he’s a fith starter, but mitre has to be better than what he’s been so far. even girardi admitted this, and he’s one to put a positive spin on everything. if mitre is going to continue his bad performances, we have to look at other options. maybe if nova improves in AAA he could be an option. and there still is the waiver wire

  • GG

    Solid rant, lots of great points. I wish I agreed with the first paragraph, but Joba is going to move to the pen soon, and Andy fell off big time in the second half last year. Its also easy to say our 3-5 is better than Boston’s, but they do have Dice-K coming back at some point and he could very well be effective unlike he was at the beginning of the year, I hope not, but it is certainly possible.

  • scared fan

    I don’t think Cash will find anybody useful in the waiver wire. My bet is he will promote Marte and send Hughes to the rotation.

    • Billy

      what makes you say that? there’s always players available on waivers and in this economy teams will be cautious in blocking potential deals. and regarding your marte point, he has struggled with velocity and has been bad in his rehab. he’s not close to coming back effective

      • scared fan

        you think it’s bogus that they didn’t want to pick up 650k of bannister’s contract? the players that are going to be available will be more expensive than that.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Yeah I thought that was bogus. Budget or no budget, 650K is chum change.

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

            $650k = $910k for the Yankees because of the luxury tax.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Still.

            • radnom

              Doesn’t new stadium = no luxury tax this year?

  • r.w.g.

    The fifth starter probably shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but we’ve got to accept the fact that we don’t play in the NL Central.

    Tony, above, has a good point with the number of games Wang and Co. didn’t even give the team a chance in. Now that the team has gotten itself into first place, it’s possible to say that’s water under the bridge and we go from here… but we have got to be honest about the realities of our division.

    Remember last year when the team won 89 games and finished a definitive 3rd? The AL East is a monster.

    • ChrisS

      but we’ve got to accept the fact that we don’t play in the NL Central.

      Right. Every loss counts when there are two very good teams right behind the Yankees. The Yankees shouldn’t be trying to dick around with retreads and never-have beens when the rotational depth has question marks.

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    A.J., Andy, and Joba have been money since the ASB. This JMO and a lot of people disagree and that’s fair, but I think CC will pick it up. IMO Joba will be starting come playoff time, they’ll just skip some of his starts.

    We’ll be fine.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      This *is* JMO

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

        I hope CC picks it up.

        Imagine how different it’d be if Andy was getting something that remotely resembled run support!

        He’s had THREE runs of support in his last three starts combined

        • chriskeo

          And Mitre got 5 runs last night

        • Whitey14

          No offense, but by the time he starts getting more run support, he could be pitching like crap again. I can’t believe he’ll sustain the run he’s on. From an outsider’s viewpoint it seems like the Yankee’s starting pitchers have been as streaky as Boston starting nine hitters have been. I’m just hoping the streaks work out in our favor right around September 1. I’m content to ride in 2nd place until then so we can block your potential waiver pick-ups ;-)

    • Billy

      im not sure about joba starting in the playoffs. that is very unlikely, unless they completely throw the joba rules out the window, which is also very unlikely

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        My guess is they skip a few starts so they can make it happen.

    • GG

      I’m not saying I disagree, that first statement has clearly been true, but we all remember Andy’s second half last year and I think it’s reasonable to be scared about what he will have left in the tank

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        I guess. But he’s been money so far.

  • E-ROC

    The Yankees are eerily similar to that of the NBA champion Lakers. Taking nights off mentally, though the Yanks seem to do it against the good teams while the Lakers did it against the bottom feeders. Its August, thus change will come and the Yanks will split the series against the White Sox, and continue their quest for championship.

    • scared fan

      the lakers were already guaranteed a playoff spot so it was okay if they took nights off. the yankees are a losing streak away from being out of the playoff picture.

    • Observer283

      Did you miss the Rays series? How about the Tigers series (you know, the team that’s ahead of the White Sox)?

      This meme has to stop. We have played poorly against the Angels and the Red Sox (2-12). We’ve been just fine againt every other above .500 tema in the league.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        Exactly.

        Played poorly vs. the Angels is a bit of a misnomer. We haven’t played them much yet, so we’re 2-4 against them.

      • E-ROC

        My point was that the Yanks seem to have mental lapses against good teams instead of the bottom feeders. I already know their record against teams not named the Angels and RedSox.

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

          Games against the Angels and Red Sox do not count for more, believe it or not. Everyone gets a fresh slate in the postseason.

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

            We’re on? We’re on right now?

            I don’t believe you.

          • andrew

            But in a way, they do count more. A loss to the Royals loses us a half game in the standings, a loss to the Red Sox costs us a full game.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Unless the Red Sox win.

    • Thomas A. Anderson

      Regular season success means nothing when it comes to the postseason.

      See: 2008 Anaheim Angels – 9-1 vs Boston; 1-3 vs Boston in ALDS

      I don’t care if the Yankees go 0-18 vs Boston and 2-6 vs Anaheim. It doesn’t matter.

      As long as they get in the playoffs, everything resets and it’s a race to 7 wins to get to the World Series.

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

        BUT TEH MOMENTUM!!!!!1!!!

  • psbpablo

    I am no baseball expert but Jerry Harriston? What is he going to do for the Yankees that Ranson, Pena, Melky, and the rest are not doing? NY may get the wild card but it will be one and out. After Jeter and Tex everybody just shows up.

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

        seriously. “After Jeter and Tex everybody just shows up”. what the hell is that supposed to mean?

        • Tank the Frank

          It means the public schools have failed.

      • psbpablo

        correction “everyone else just shows up. I am dysexic and a non expert. You and tommiesmithjohncarlos are are tough.

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

          No, that wasn’t the only part that didn’t make sense.

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    You people are crazy. This is the most ridiculous overreaction I’ve ever seen. We’re a game and a half IN first place and people are predicting wild card and one and dones. Crazy.

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

      +42

    • Observer283

      That.

      + 27.

    • Thomas A. Anderson

      Don’t you know? Panicking is what Yankee fans do best!

      /Tigger

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      That’s 69 points for me!

      But who’s counting? ;-)

    • GG

      I’m not predicting where we are gonna end up, division winners, wild card, but in the playoffs, its not exactly difficult to envision us not making it to the world series with the current rotation. My biggest fear is Boston gets Dice-K back and he lights out

      • Thomas A. Anderson

        I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Dice-K is not that good. In fact, outside of Boston and New York he is wildly overrated. Both fanbases know better and what he really is.

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

          Matsuzaka has only thrown 35 innings and has a 8.23 ERA and a 2.200 WHIP. He’s not going to be back for another month at the earliest and then has only September to round into shape.

          If 2009 Chien Ming Wang never happened, Dice-K would universally be ridiculed for being the biggest disappointment of the year. The chances of him being a factor this year are negligible.

          • Tank the Frank

            If 2009 Chien Ming Wang never happened

            I wrote a song about it and I sing it to myself as a lullaby before I go to bed.

            If 2009 Chien Ming Wang never happened
            Oh what a wonderful season it would be
            If 2009 Chien Ming Wang never happened
            I wouldn’t be in such misery
            If 2009 Chien Ming Wang never happened
            Just imagine what could have been
            If 2009 Chien Ming Wang never happened
            Phil Hughes wouldn’t be in the pen

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Good job with the rhyming. +1.

    • Charlie

      you people? there’s one (1) guy that predicted that and its right above your comment. use the reply button and don’t be so general

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

        -What do you mean, “You people”?
        -What do YOU mean, “You people”?

        • Riddering

          Just because it’s a theme song don’t make it not true.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        I was making a general comment. It wasn’t a reply, and I meant to be general.

        Yes it was made more or less as a result of the comment above me, but believe me, pspablo is not the only one with that sentiment.

        On lohud you’ll find a ton of bridge jumpers. There will be more to come here, you wait.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          here as in RAB.

  • Tank the Frank

    Actually, a good 5th starter is rather important IMO. Don’t try and overdo it like every fan is ready to commit mass suicide because of the pitching situation. The fifth starter isn’t the most important thing in the universe, but it’s not he most unimportant thing in the universe either.

    A 5th starter is a necessary and important component of a baseball team. You yourself admitted the need to pick up more pitching once Joba hits his innings limit. The last thing we need is two Mitre-types in the rotation. Having a reliable fifth starter is crucial for many reasons. Sergio Mitre is good for 5 innings at the most and opponents are hitting .400 against him. Nights like last night compromise an already tired bullpen and overexpose it’s weaker parts, leading inevitably to more losses. God forbid we had the pre all star break Joba and/or Pettitte. This team would be in a rough situation right now. You can’t expect our 1-4 to go six or seven innings every time.

    We need a fifth starter who can effectively get outs at the major league level. Sergio Mitre does not fit that description. That’s my only complaint.

    • Charlie

      Phil Hughes fits that description

      • GG

        If Joba goes to the pen, Phil would be our 4th

  • bart

    the team KNOWS Mire is AA at best and they have near zero chance when he takes ball — he was ok as emergency start when Wang was uncertain – he was never 5th starter

    the plan is for Joba and Hughes – get it done and cut the crap —

    Sabbathia and Burnett can go 8 inn to lighten load -Pettit is boirderline 6/7 Joba and Hughes uncertain those three will stress BP — but not as badly as Mitre is doing
    They could have had Washburn cheap last year anf naybe made playoffs — thy could have had him cheaper this year — pettit does nothave a 2010 certainty — Washburn could have been the 5th guy or insurance – never have enough pitching

    • Charlie

      thats a weird little rant. first of all, as bad as mitre is in the al east, he dominated AAA so why would they KNOW he’s AA at best? And also the yanks won two games when he pitched, albeit because their offense is usually a machine. “the plan is for joba and hughes-get it done and cut the crap” Huh??? You can’t just expect CC and AJ to go 8 innings every time they pitch, either, that’s just crazy. it’d be nice to have washburn, but they’ll be fine without him

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

      M-I-T-R-E
      S-A-B-A-T-H-I-A
      P-E-T-T-I-T-T-E

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

    I still think there’s a 95% likelihood that one of these two things happen:

    1) The Yankees start limiting Joba’s innings aggressively during August, either by pulling him out of starts early (like the 5th/6th inning) or by skipping him, and then skip him more aggressively in September when rosters expand and spot starts can be given to some kids like WDLR and Nova, all with the intention of getting him to season’s end at around 140-150 IP so that he has a tiny amount of room under his cap to start during the playoffs
    OR
    2) The Yankees move Joba to the bullpen, freeing up Phil Hughes to move back to the rotation.

    There’s just no scenario where neither Joba or Phil are in the postseason rotation that makes sense. I can’t believe the team would allocate resources that improperly, after all the care and foresight that went into the original plan. One of them will be the 4th starter, the other will be the 8th inning guy.

    And while I want an upgrade over Mitre, that’s the reason I can’t panic yet, because we either don’t need Mitre during the playoffs, or we already have Mitre’s playoff replacement on staff.

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

      In reality, most teams could roll with a seven man pitching staff in the rotation.

      Three starters
      Fourth starter/long reliever
      Closer
      Two best setup arms

      • Charlie

        thats crazy. you need more arms than that. why would a team want 18 position players?

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

          I never said that teams should only carry seven pitchers, but when push comes to shove those are the guys that do about 95% of the work in the playoffs.

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

            True.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Gotta make the playoffs first.

            I think we will, but it’s not a lock, so we should try to roll the best rotation out there.

      • 27 this year

        I guess but an extra arm or so could save you from using a good arm in a blowout or a game where the closer leaves really early. But I see what you’re saying.

    • Bob Stone

      Finally a voice of reason amidst the growing insanity. That is EXACTLY the only scenario that makes sense.

      I believe the front office knows what it is doing so I can’t see them doing anything other than what you have written TSJC.

      I would still have liked to see a deadline pickup of a starter though, even if it was only a two month rental.

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

        Oh, I would have liked one too, and we’ll probably still get one. I’m sure Cashman is deciding amongst the various overpaid starters and relievers that will pass through waivers, and he’ll add one more arm to the mix at some point.

        • Bob Stone

          Hopefully the economy will be enough of a factor for the player we want to pass all the way through waivers to the Yankees.

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

            My prediction: One of Duchscherer/Garland/Davis/Correia ends up here two weeks from now.

            I don’t think we put in a claim on Arroyo (because we don’t want Jocketty to just dump him and his 17M on us) and I bet we put a claim on Bannister but can’t agree on a price with Dayton Moore. We wouldn’t claim Pavano for obvious reasons.

            I still think there’s like a 30% shot we get Jose Valverde too.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              All those starters really suck except Duscherer and Bannister.

              Garland is not even worth discussing. He’s flat out awful.

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                And Valverde’s not bad.

              • GG

                Garland is awful, I wonder if Doug Davis oculd be a decent 5 in the AL East

                • Mikebk

                  the same doug davis that walked 6 met hitters last night

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Any ideas on who they could get?

        • Mikebk

          I think the Joba/Hughes flip is the move to be made because the problem with the 5 inning Joba start is the pen needs to get 12 outs and then we are also hoping just for that from Mitre/5 slot two days later. What i would rather do than play around skipping joba multiple times just so he remains a starter is skip him this next time then let him throw the following 3-4 starts and go to the pen that way when we have the off days we are skipping the 5 hole and going with a 4 man rotation of AJ, CC, Phil, Andy (just going by the order they are in now). I dont know for sure that Phil will consistently give us 6 now, but hopefully with the added aggressiveness and efficiency of pitching in the bullpen he can throw less pitches per inning.

    • Nady Nation

      +1. Couldn’t have said it much better myself. I think scenario 2 is much more likely than scenario 1 though, and I think scenario 2 is ultimately going to happen.

  • rzg

    I come to this site and it seems the Yanks are in 7th place in their division, might as well forfeit the rest of the games to get a better pick next year.

    Next I expect someone to begin stammering about their Pythagorean record even though each time I look at the standings I never notice that a team has been kept out of the playoffs because of it.

    For me the sweetest thing is the wildcard standings – no Yankee team is listed. What could be the reason for that? Oh yeah, they’re in first place.

  • stuart

    why do people always say the pen is being overused that is innacurate.

    look at the appearances and innigns pitched of the yanks pen arms, no problems.

    also aceves and hughes are fairly young and were starters..

    the yanks are not overusing there pen look at the Dodgers for that, I also acknowledge in the NL pens are used more.

    Melancon progression can really help the pen and give them more flexibilty in case they need to move Hughes back into the rotation. I do not put Aceves in the rotation no matter what, he just strikes me as a great jack of all trades pen guy, but his last 2 outings really have led to losses so hopefully that is only a blip…

    • Arman Tamzarian

      Agreed on the Melancon piece, they may have a bullpen solution sitting in the bullpen already. I know he struggled a bit his first few games, but his development into a reliable late inning reliever would be huge.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Melancon has been pitching great. With Ace slumping this is important.

  • Pasqua

    I would just like to emphasize a point that some have already made, because I think it’s the truth: This is not about a 5th starter, it’s about a 4th starter. And the reason it’s important is because that 4th starter will eventually have to throw in the playoffs (taking for granted that we get there, of course). The question is, “If it ain’t Joba, then who?” That’s why I, for one, am concerned about the situation, and it has nothing to do with losing 2 in a row to the White Sox. The Yanks could be on a 20-game winning streak and it would not change what’s coming down the line.

    (Unless that 20-game winning streak put them a dozen games up in the East, of course. Which would totally awesome, amirite?)

    • Mikebk

      the hope here is that the argument for leaving phil out there was there was no one to replace him but if joba is being capped and going to the pen he becomes someone to replace him and phil can take joba’s spot though probably not as effectively as joba is doing it right now.

      • Pasqua

        Right, but then that begs the question, how does the swap get done without potentially sacrificing some games during the transition? Maybe by extending Hughes in relief you can minimize potential problems, but then you lose Hughes for days at a time. I guess what I’m saying is, there doesn’t seem to be a clean solution unless a deal gets made. The Hughes/Joba scenario would have to be perfectly timed to be smooth.

        • Mikebk

          the only way it works is if Hughes in some sense the defacto 5th guy just not starting and then AJ and CC can go distance the following 2 nights so all they need is Aceves if he isnt on the DL, Coke, to get to Mo. Hughes threw 35 pitches on Thurs. if they gave him 2 innings today and he did that again, when Mitre starts again on Wed (assuming joba is skipped) hughes could bump up to 50 pitches, but that means he is probably out for the boston series.

  • stuart

    robertson just seems to not be reliable enough for a real improtant role but melancon throws about 2 or 3 mph harder and that may make all the difference in the world.

    all I read is he has a great head for the game and has closed in the Pac 10 and done all you can in the minors so maybe he can man up and move up the pecking order if so that will really really help.

    Bruney will be in mop up roles until he shows he can move up the pecking order and him succeeding is to be seen…..

    • Mikebk

      it is not mph that is d-rob’s problem. it is the control that he walks too many or gets behind and then gets hit.

  • Observer283

    Fun fact: last night was the first Mitre start that the Yankees lost.

    Does this mean Mitre that is anywhere near the universe of the word “good”? No. His near 8 ERA, near 2 WHIP, and 4K/9 strikeout rate are pretty good indicators that Mr. Mitre is not very good at his job (SSS notwithstanding).

    But, the Yankees are still 2-1 in his three starts. If this doesn’t prove that he is a good pitcher (which it doesn’t, see above), what does it mean?

    It means that the best offense in baseball can win games started by a bad fifth starter. Not only can they, they often will.

    Would i have preferreed if the Yankees had a better fifth starter? Of course. But he is a fifth starter. Fifth. Fifth starters are generally not good. This is nothing new. We can still win the division with Mitre in our rotation. Looks like the Sox are going to have to try and do the same with a over the hill Smoltz, a mediocre Penny, and an inconsistent Buchholz.

    The Joba innings cap is of course an issue. POtential solution suggested by my Wife and also by another RAB poster: Have Phil and Joba tag team starts. Not only would this give the Yanks their best fourth starter, it would also serve to help the team reduce Joba’s innings and build up Phil’s. This would help both the 2009 AND the 2010 Yankees.

    So at the beginning we go Joba 6/Phil 2, and, gradually, by the end of the season it would be Phil 6/Joba 2. This way:

    1. Phil is ready to be the fourth starter in the playoffs (if we make it) and is much closer to hitting his innings target for 2009 than if he stays in the pen throughout.

    2. Joba isn’t overextended and is ready to go back to the bullpen for the playoffs (if we make it).

    It’s unconventional yes, but we have already done the caddy system this season (Phil caddying for Wang) so it is outlandish.

    What do people think? Does this make sense?

    • Observer283

      That was supposed to be “so it is not outlandish”

    • Pasqua

      So you essentially make Joba / Hughes a combo starting duo? In theory I think it works, but a lot of people will wonder about what’s going to happen within the four other games that are played between their “starts.” Depth can be problematic.

    • Bob Stone

      I think the plan could work. It is infinitely better than sending Phil to the minors to stretch out in preparation to swap roles with Joba.

      I would like to see it happen sooner than later though. I am concerned that Yankee management may wait a little too long to swap Joba and Hughes.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      You suggested this idea of the tag team starts yesterday. I liked it then and I like it now.

      • Observer283

        I think seconded someone else’s suggestion yesterday. It was on a dying thread so i didn’t think a lot of people had seen it.

        Glad you’re on board, RRR.

  • stuart

    if the yanks did have a 6 game cushion it would make a big difference it would allow them to skip joba or give him extra rest or take him out of a game early to protect the innings..

    so losing games that they shouldn’t absolutely hurts them long term not only in the standings..

    joba has to be in the rotation in hte playoffs if they make it, unless you have not seen the last 3 starts.. any guy can have it all for a start but he has been great for 3 starts, and obviosuly his stuff is ace type already..

  • Tony

    Actually, I’m pretty sure CC and AJ could/would be starting games 4 and 5 in an ALDS.

    PROBLEM SOLVED

    • Accent Shallow

      While you can throw Sabathia/Burnett on three days rest in Game 4/5, is it really necessary?

      • Tony

        Come to think of it, it wouldn’t make sense to do anything else.

    • Pasqua

      But what happens in the ALCS?

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

        Exactly.

        Rolling with a three man rotation in the ALDS may be doable, but we’d be gassing ourselves for the ALCS and WS. We need a 4th starter to make an appearance or two.

  • Frank Fernandez

    “Mitre will go the way of Tim Redding, Darrell May, and Scott Erickson.”

    And we didn’t win anything the years we had to resort to those types of pitchers, either.

    Maybe people panic because the Yankees haven’t won a playoff series since 2004 and they’ve gotten pretty good at spotting the warning signs of a team that just has some fatal flaws.

    And, before you snicker, understand that the pessimists have been more prescient than the Pollyannas for a while now.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      AARON SMALL…

      “understand that the pessimists have been more prescient than the Pollyannas for a while now.”

      Not really.

      • Frank Fernandez

        Only if your horizon doesn’t extend beyond April 2009.

        It’s laughable that a 5th starter doesn’t matter much. A guy like Mitre disrupts more than just the game he flops in, he screws up the bullpen for 2-3 days. And when you’ve got an innings-capped #4 starter (or is he #3 now?) and a 37-year-old who may or may not give you 6 innings, it matters even more.

        There are good reasons why we haven’t solved this problem, but to say it’s not a significant problem, well, who starts next Thursday when we open against Boston anyway?

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          See comment below.

    • Accent Shallow

      The 2008 Phillies had Adam Eaton on their roster.
      The 2007 Red Sox had Julian Tavarez.
      The 2006 Cardinals had Jason Marquis (ERA over 6!) and Jeff Weaver.
      The 2005 White Sox had El Duque (ERA over 5, 22 starts).

      Shall I continue?

      Even teams that win the World Series employ crappy pitchers in their rotation. If they can make the playoffs, and either leave that player off the playoff roster (or have him pitching mopup), they’ll be fine.

      Or, said pitcher could get hot and carry them to the title, a la Weaver in 2006, but I’m not holding my breath for Sergio Mitre to do that.

  • stuart

    observer283, the caddy system is not a bad idea.

    this would all be easier to figure out if we knew exactly what the Joba innings or pitches limit was……Obviously they do not want the world to know but if Hughes cannot take Joba’s spot and vice a versus and they lose joba as a starter also then they are in trouble.

    BTW ABreu is having a very good year, man he is a good pro.. Obviosuly at $5 mill he is a bargain but he has been the ANgels best player for the season with Hunter missing so much time…

  • Reggie C.

    I thought the goal at the trade deadline was to find someone who could fill in that spot between the top and second tier pitchers.

    No one knows whether Joba will remain a starter 2 weeks from now. Pettitte is showing some life on his pitchers, but is he the guy we’re banking on filling that #3 spot? Wang’s disappearing act is the main issue of the season, and the uncertainty at the 3rd spot is the achilles heel of this team.

    What do people here think of Tim Hudson? Could Wren be talked into waiving Hudson? Aside from Gil Meche and Hudson, I’m having a tough time thinking of arms that could help out this ballclub down the stretch.

    • Accent Shallow

      I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to Hudson, but he’s coming off Tommy John, and has an option for ’10. Depending on how his stuff has returned, he’d be a worthwhile pickup.

      He hasn’t been lighting the world on fire over his 3 rehab starts so far, but that’s not a concern, what’s at issue is how long he is from returning to form. I’m not convinced that his stuff will be at full strength — think Carl Pavano last year.

      Not to mention, the Braves aren’t fully out of it yet (8 out of division, 4 of WC).

      He’s an option, but I’m thinking “monitor the situation” right now, rather than “jump in with both feet”.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Bannister and Valverde are possibilities as TSJC pointed out.

      • Reggie C.

        Any number of contending teams would put in claims for Bannister and Valverde. I’m not sure as to how much Valverde makes, but Bannister makes under $1MM. The Yanks would have to delve deeper in to the prospect pool to beat out other teams.

        I only mentioned Hudson and Meche as possibilities b/c of their salaries. Meche is signed till 2011 at a total cost of $24MM (not counting luxury dollars), so that’d be a serious investment.

        That leaves Hudson as a wiser, more cost-effective choice. A couple strong rehab starts and a certain Sept. return would make him the #1 target.

        • Tony

          Why the hell would Atlanta trade Tim Hudson if he’s worth anything?

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

          Tim Hudson is a possiblity for us in 2010, Reggie. Not now.

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

        Valverde is not going to be taking up any starting innings, though.

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

        Bannister and Valverde are possibilities as TSJC pointed out.

        I pointed out Bannister as a possibility and then immediately said it’s highly unlikely.

  • Zach

    Atleast we dont have Penny and Penny as our 4th and 5th starters

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

    English nerd criticism: “Disinterested” means neutral or unbiased, not uninterested.

  • Januz

    What really disturbes me is the lack of imagination and persistance by the Yankees. Look at the White Sox, they never quit on Jake Peavey, and eventually landed him. No one in their right mind suggests trading Joba for a 5th starter type, but I still think that Halliday could have been had for Montero and other prospects.
    I said it yesterday, and I will say it again: The key dates are August 17th (Draft Pick signing day) and August 24 (End of the road trip). They need to get draft picks signed and trades made otherwise we are looking at a rerun of 2008.

    • Tony

      How many times do you need to hear it?

      Jeus Montero, Austin Jackson, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain ARE NOT going anywhere.

      • Reggie C.

        I had a crazy moment yesterday where I hoped that Cashman offered Phil or Joba + the other 2 “untouchables” for Felix Hernandez since Jake Z. was actually hearing offers. Just a crazy thought ….

      • Tony

        ALSO, Jesus Montero.

        They aren’t dealing elite prospects for more old guys. That’s the mess they’ve been trying to dig out of for almost a decade now.

      • Januz

        No one (Least of all me) advocates trading Hughes or Joba. Pitching is the most important premimum in the game (Young pitching particularly so). However, I would have been willing to trade a Montero or a Jackson for the best pitcher in the American League (And maybe in baseball). Why would I trade a Montero? For the same reason why St Louis traded Wallace: From everything I read, Montero will have to be moved from catcher because a: Romine is a SUPERIOR DEFENSIVE catcher (The most important things in catchers are defense, calling a game & throwing out runners). b: He is weak defensively. The only places he can be put is left field or DH (First is occupied by Mark Teixeira for the next 7 years).
        Here is part of a review of Montero from Sox and Pinstripes: …..Now here is the bad news. As you can see, the only aspect of Montero’s game that I spoke about was his hitting ability. Although Montero is an excellent hitter, he isn’t a good fielder at all. Almost every scout believes he will have to move off of the catcher position to reach the big-leagues. He has made strides defensively each season, but his big frame (6’4, 225Ibs) keeps him from being anywhere near dependable as a catcher. It’s unlikely that the Yankees will rush Montero through the farm system, and if he can’t be a catcher for the Yankees, then maybe he can try right or left field. First base is vacated by Texiera, and Montero’s value would go down significantly if he couldn’t even play a position reasonably well……… Read this piece, it has an Austin Romine review as well. http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

        • Tony

          Austin Romine is not a pimple on Jesus’ glorious ass.

    • Zach

      Montero and who for Halladay? They werent giving Doc away without getting a Joba or Hughes plus Montero plus 3 more guys, so get over it

      • Januz

        What about McAllister, Melky and Montero for Wells and Halliday. They could have taken that ugly Wells contract off Toronto’s hands.

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

          NO. NO. NO. A THOUSAND TIMES NO.

          Vernon Wells and Barry Zito have the two worst contracts in the history of baseball. Adding Vernon Wells would be the worst possible move EVER. 10 Roy Halladays wouldn’t be enough to justify adding Vernon Wells.

        • Accent Shallow

          If the Yankees were interested in taking that godawful contract off Toronto’s hands, it wouldn’t have involved any actual prospects.

          Why would the Yankees give up someone like Montero for the right to pay Vernon Wells $100M? Even if Halladay is involved? Shit.

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

      I said it yesterday, and I will say it again: The key dates are August 17th (Draft Pick signing day) and August 24 (End of the road trip). They need to get draft picks signed and trades made otherwise we are looking at a rerun of 2008.

      You did say it yesterday and said it again today.

      It was batshit crazy yesterday and it’s still batshit crazy today.

      THEY. ARE. NOT. RELATED.

      • Januz

        The goal for this organization is winning the World Series in 2009 and in the future. If Joba is removed from the rotation, and a SUITABLE replacement is not found, they will not beat out Tampa for the playoffs (Let alone beat superior teams like Boston or Los Angeles (Angels) in the playoffs). If this team does not stock the farm system with superior talent, they could one day look like the Mets: Top heavy with elite talent: Santana, Wright, K-Rod, Beltran & Reyes (When those two are healthy). But nothing underneath them. Making sure this team is ready for a September (And hopefully an October run), and for years to come, should be Brian Cashman’s primary responsibility. That is why those previously mentioned August two dates mean a lot to me.

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

          There’s nothing wrong with saying “those two dates mean alot to me.

          What’s wrong is saying that “They need to get draft picks signed and trades made otherwise we are looking at a rerun of 2008.”

          That’s wrong.

          • Januz

            The way I see it they have various options: 1: Keep Joba where he is and pitch Mitre. 2: Same but substitute Igawa. 3: Same but substitute Hughes 4: A trade for a Bannister.. 5: Flip Flop Hughes and Joba. 6, 7. 8 same variations but using Phil Hughes. Whatever they do should include more opportunities for Mark Melancon.
            My point is this: If they are so concerned about Joba and the future, they better be willing to spend the $$$$$$$$$ necessary to make sure that the future is bright.

        • immature child

          remove the J from your name…. LOL.

  • Doug

    Imagine our Spankees in a salary cap baseball, we wouldnt have been able to buy Sabathia and Burnett, and WE are talking about other teams moves, what American Dog Hypocritters. Die Spankees.

  • Arman Tamzarian

    The title of the first article listed on Fangraphs Jon Garland profile is “D’Backs sign Garland. Why?”

  • acb

    apparently joe girardi doesnt want to win today by making the most pathetic lineup. I can see giving guys a day off but we have cody ransom playing over eric hinske?

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

      This current season’s success in tiny sample sizes notwithstanding, Hinske’s pretty “meh” against lefties. (Then again, Ransom’s entire career is a small sample size, but…)

      Eric Hinske, Career v LHP: .223/.300/.374 in 741 PA
      Cody Ransom, Career v LHP: .273/.349/.468 in 87 PA

      Just playing the lefty/righty percentages.

  • Count Zero

    I don’t disagree with the overall premise — that the Yankees mental mistakes are of more concern than Mitre’s pitching over the long term. But I also think you’re downplaying Mitre’s crappiness to some extent.

    In the recap thread you referred to him throwing a “clunker” from time to time, but even if you throw out last night and look at his first two starts: 10.2IP, 17H, 8R, 7ER, 5.91ERA. Mitre has been just as Posnerian as the original Posnerian — and in fact may create a new adjective of his own before he’s done. Realistically speaking, he is more likely to throw a clunker than not each and every time out.

    Yeah, we may win a few of his starts through sheer offense, but it won’t be many and the lingering effect his starts have on the bullpen is real. The reality is I don’t want to see him make more than one or two more starts at most, and with the Joba innings cap looming, we do have a very real concern with our rotation. A Phil / Joba swap seems inevitable (and rightly so), but as of right now no one on the Yankees has acknowledged that. And so we’re standing at:

    September #4 ?
    September #5 ?

    That’s not so hot if you expect to grab a playoff spot in a very contested race. Not saying we won’t, but I’d prefer a little more security.

  • cr1

    Did I miss something or did we just have a ‘mental mistakes’ rant without mentioning the biggest mental mistake of the night — Girardi leaving Aceves in for a second inning when he’s barely back off the DL?

  • JeffG

    The problem is we have chinks in our bullpen as well. The other is our two competitors in the East don’t have the fifth starter problem. It will cost us.