Linkage: Robertson, Rosters, KLaw, Bunts


We have a few links to help you pass the time before the game tonight. The friggin’ rain better let up…

  • In Baseball Prospectus’ World Series preview, Will Carroll says that David Robertson‘s “shoulder would have him on a surgeon’s table if his team weren’t in the World Series.” Keep in mind that K-Rob missed time with an elbow injury in September, not shoulder. Also, shoulder injuries result in decreased velocity, and in his last outing Robertson sat 92.97-93.9 mph with the fastball, hitting the high end of that range on his final pitch of the day. Besides, I don’t think the Yankees would be foolish enough to carry an injured reliever on their World Series roster.
  • Joe took a look at how the core of the Yanks’ roster was constructed last week, but John Sickels did a more thorough job over the weekend. Sorry, Joe. Sickels also compared the Yanks roster construction with that of the Phillies’.  For a team that doesn’t produce any players, the Yanks sure do have a lot of homegrown players on their roster, no? Weird.
  • In case you missed it, here’s Keith Law’s keys to the World Series (Insider only). He picks the Yanks in six, because of “a big bullpen advantage and a stronger offense.”
  • Michael Lichtman at FanGraphs has a really long take on sacrifice bunts, particularly the ones the Yanks tried in the 8th inning the other day when the Angels botched some routine plays. RAB regulars know I’m not a fan of the sac bunt, but in that spot I was more than fine with it. They already had the lead; the bottom of the order was due up; and with Mo on the mound, one more run would have sealed the deal.
  • Here’s an Indians fan’s take on tonight’s CC Sabathia-Cliff Lee matchup. It’s long, but I’ll cut to the chase: He’s pissed.
  • Make sure you check out Visual Baseball. How can you not love baseball infographics?
  • Finally, Ben is still blogging about the Yankees for USA Today’s team face-off site. You can find the blog right here. In his most recent post, he presents the results from yesterday’s RAB World Series prediction poll. Check it out.
Categories : Links


  1. Nady Nation says:

    Mike, no WS preview chat?

  2. pat says:

    Speaking of Joe, if he wrote this headline it probably would have been
    Linkage: Robertson, Rosters, KLaw, Blunts

  3. Chris says:

    Also, shoulder injuries result in decreased velocity, and in his last outing Robertson sat 92.97-93.9 mph with the fastball, hitting the high end of that range on his final pitch of the day. Besides, I don’t think the Yankees would be foolish enough to carry an injured reliever on their World Series roster.

    Looking at his season long trend, Robertson appeared to pick up about 3mph on his fastball later in the year (which corresponded to his improved performance), but then lost it after his injury layoff.


    Also, I disagree that they would leave a pitcher off because of an injury that he could pitch through. Even if Robertson is at 75%, I’d still want him pitching instead of Bruney. It’s possible that they’re just limiting his usage because he’s injured, and that’s why we’re not seeing much of him this post season.

    • CubanC says:

      If that’s the case then why not bring in Aceves for him during the extra innings, bases-loaded, no-out situation against Minnesota? Why leave him in for all those extra pitches? 75% or Robertson might be better than Bruney but is it better than Aceves (results of Game 3 vs. Angels notwithstanding)

    • A.D. says:

      I agree they may very well leave an injured Robertson on the roster, especially if some type of surgery is inevitable, i.e. Smoltz in 99.

      What I have trouble believing is that an injured Robertson would be as effective as he is, or effective enough to still be on the roster.

      • Yeah, I doubt Robertson would be on the roster if he was hurt, considering that
        A) we barely use him anyway, he’s far from a key cog, and
        B) Brian Bruney could pick up the scant innings we give to DRob in any event.

      • Chris says:

        I think the question would be the severity of any injury. It’s possible that the injury would only need rest a rehab for a full recovery. Of course, there isn’t much time to rest now, so you try to pitch him sparingly so it doesn’t get worse.

        As for the Minnesota game, he only threw 9 pitches, so it’s not like he was left out there forever. It was game 2 against Anaheim when he threw 33 pitches. In both cases, the only pitcher left after him was Gaudin.

        I’m sure we will find out details of whether or not he was injured after the series, but this would go a long way in explaining his usage lately.

    • Tank Foster says:

      Look, almost by definition, pitchers are injured. It’s so stressful on the arm, that it’s rare guys who don’t have arm problems (Clemens, e.g.). An injury is not an injury is not an injury; the term is appropriately used for everything from slight muscle strains to major structural damage to joints. In other words, it doesn’t have to be either/or.

      Robertson’s “injury” could be – is probably, in fact – something that the team Drs. consider relatively minor and not potentially career-threatening. So they let him pitch. Still, if you know a guy is “sore,” or otherwise a bit banged up, it would be natural to limit his usage, so as to have him as effective as possible when you need him.

      I think Robertson is probably hurting some. He may or may not have something requiring off-season surgery, but if there was even a slight chance that him pitching now put his career in jeopardy, he would not be on the roster.

      • Bo says:

        This shouldnt even be debated. If he was in the slightest bit hurt you would have seen him replaced.

        Not even a seconds thought would have gone on before they replaced him.

        • Chris says:

          I disagree. If he’s still an effective pitcher, there is a reasonable chance that he would remain on the roster, ecen if injured. As Cashman and many others have mentioned, the rules for use of young pitchers goes out the window during the playoffs, and there’s an all-hand-on-deck mentality.

          • Bo says:

            Have you not watched Cashman operate??? No chance he’d let a young pitcher jeopardize himself long term.

            That argument would have more weight if we were debating Hughes. Not the 9th man on a 12 man staff

            • Actually, Bo, it’s the exact opposite. You have it backwards.

              You’re saying that Cashman is loath to allow a young arm to pitch with a potential injury, but he’d be willing to let Hughes pitch with one because Hughes is important and unwilling to let Robertson pitch with one because he isn’t.

              Cashman would take the exact opposite position, as he should. He would never let Hughes pitch through injury, because Hughes has a higher ceiling and more long-term importance to the club. He may be willing to let Robertson pitch through one, since Robertson’s ceiling is limited to being a reliever and thus, he’s more disposable and replaceable.

              • Chris says:

                I’m curious. If you gave a pitcher (say Robertson) a choice between a) being shutdown now but having a long career or b) pitching through pain now to have a shot at winning a WS title but putting your long term career in jeopardy, what would most pitchers choose?

                I don’t think that’s the case here, but I would be interested in hearing the responses to that question.

                • Agreed. I think those pitchers would probably make the decision based on a combination of how great the risk for long term injury, how old they are (and thus, how much baseball they have left to play and how much money they have left to make), and how good their team is (e.g., what’s the likelihood that there will be another playoff run in the coming years for them to be back in this position).

                  Most players would probably choose to play rather than sit. Which is why the decision should never really be the player’s, but should be the doctor’s.

        • Zack says:

          Unless it’s just an injury thats causing discomfort and theres no threat of long term damage, like Mo from last year.

  4. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    There better be baseball tonight, it’s raining in CT and I’ve gone crazy since the ALCS ended, I want baseball noww!

  5. A.D. says:

    Not a BP subscriber, but does Carroll provide any actual facts on Robertson shoulder injury.

    • I’m sure he can’t. No one is going to go on the record saying Robertson should be in surgery rather than on the playoff roster.

    • Zack says:

      Well, last year its not like anyone knew that Mo was pitching it pain. Still, I dont get how they can claim he needs surgery without ever being on the DL or slowed down by a shoulder injury all season.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      Carroll isn’t the Yankees’ doctor, so he’s only as good as his sources. How good are his sources? No idea. It sure seems to jive with Robertson’s usage pattern and Girardi’s treatment ofhim, though.

  6. So I wasn’t entirely off my rocker about Robertson. Good to know.

  7. Rose says:

    Keith Law’s “Keys to the World Series” wouldn’t be necessary with the guy at the bar the other night. He was legitimately convinced that baseball is “fixed” and his major argument was that Mariano Rivera blew Game 7 of the 2001 World Series on purpose because “New York didn’t want a parade through Ground Zero.”

    This World Series is fixed as well according to him. Therefore, Keith Law’s Key’s to success are unnecessary lol.

  8. V says:

    I’m trying to figure out what kind of solution the Indians’ blogger would suggest. Seems like he wants to go back to the good ol’ pre-free agency days, where you worked for the Man for however much he wanted to pay you.

    • I do love the Sabathia pic in the article, though. Either he’s getting arrested, or he’s at the airport waiting to pick himself up.


    • Chris says:

      The solution is easy. If the Indians didn’t have to pay Westbrook, Hafner, and Wood more than $10M a year, then they probably could have kept both CC and Lee. All three of those contracts are worse than any contract the Yankees have (ok, maybe not worse than Igawa).

      • JMK aka The Overshare says:

        I’m going to disagree with you on this one, Chris. As much as I love A-Rod, his contract is insane. Sure, he’s a great player but that kind of money over that amount of years for anyone I think is a bit absurd. 10 years for $275 for anyone over the age of 30 just strikes me as a poor idea.

        • Chris says:

          The thing about A-Rod is that he’s producing. It’s ok to overpay for talent. It’s not ok to overpay for crappy players (like Vernon Wells) – that’s how you get burned and end up with a losing team.

          Also, I would guess that the Yankees will make a profit off his contract – particularly if he breaks the all-time home run record.

          • JMK aka The Overshare says:

            It’s okay to overpay for talent up to a point. A guy at age 41 making close to $30 million 99 out of 100 times is an atrocious idea. Maybe A-Rod will justify it all the way through. Not to Joe Morgan the point, but right now it’s impossible to know. A 7 year deal? I’m on board. Maybe, just maybe for eight. But ten? That’s madness. None of the three guys you mentioned is in Wells territory. That point is irrelevant. Westbrook signed for 3 years (at $11 mil.), which is a bad contract, no doubt. He hasn’t given them anything. Wood is on a 2-year deal for $10 mil. He hasn’t been great, but he’s probably earned about half that contract. Hafner? Yikes. That’s just stupid. But here’s the thing: yeah, it’s a lot of money at 4 and $57, but it’s done in four. The Indians, in a worse-case scenario, which is what those three guys appear to be at this point (though Wood isn’t a complete abomination), is four years total inflexibility at a total of around $105 million.

            Say A-Rod stops producing in 2013, they’ll owe him about $100 million. You err with another player or two and there’s very little flexibility, even with the financial mite the Yanks wield. If A-Rod were 26 or 27 when he signed a 10-year deal, I’d be a little happier with it, but not at age 32.

            Sorry if I’ve belabored the point.

          • Ed says:

            Hafner and Westbrook were producing when the contracts were signed. Wood’s prior issues were always injuries, not production. And he’s been over the injuries since he moved to the pen.

            The A-Rod contract was ok last year, but this year he clearly wasn’t worth $32 million due to the hip issue. Who knows how he’ll hold up. It could very easily end up a horrible contract. It’s interesting that the contract is frontloaded though, it should make his decline years hurt less on the payroll.

            • pete says:

              the other thing about the a-rod contract was that they had no leverage. There was no suitable replacement, anywhere, and he had just had one of the best seasons ever, had never been injured, etc. I don’t think anybody would call the a-rod deal a coup on the part of the yankees, but it’s hard to discredit them for overplaying for a player who was about as much of a lock for production as one can be (and has produced in his first two years of the contract) when they had their hands tied behind their backs completely.

      • I figured someone made that comment before I did as soon as I submitted it.

        I’ll give them a pass on Hafner, but the other two (especially Westbrook) are just inexplicably bad.

  9. the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

    I know that insults and scorn shall be rained upon my crown for saying this, but:

    DRob’s mechanics are horrific. He has a significant, substantial timing flaw. He’s essentially a ticking time bomb.

    • You’d only receive insults and scorn because you didn’t explain anything beyond the surface. How did you notice this? Is it a universal thing in all pitchers?

      • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

        I’ve looked at some high speed film and some frame-by-frame stuff.

        I know pitching mechanics is a controversial topic, and a lot of people have differing opinions about what constitutes “clean mechanics” and what doesn’t, and I’m sensitive to that. But generally speaking, I like to see the pitcher’s pitching forearm vertical and cocked at footstrike (a la Maddux, Clemens). This reduces stress on the shoulder and the elbow. Robertson’s forearm is essentially pointed at his cleats when his left foot lands, and so all of the rotational stress of bringing that forearm vertical (while the chest rotates) is borne by the elbow and the shoulder.

        In my humble and non-professional opinion, this is usually a recipe for an injury. I can’t find any pitcher who has had a long, healthy career who does anything close to what DRob does.

        And again, I know there’s no canon on mechanics, I know ppl disagree, that’s fine. In the yrs. that I’ve been looking closely at it though, it just seems to me that mechanics like the ones DRob employs are closely correlated w/ injury.

      • Bo says:

        Im sure hes seen all those mechanics from his nice comfy couch. Im real sure the team of professionals that deal with Robertson on a daily basis and in the minors for the past 3 yrs wouldnt have fixed a flaw so obvious that you picked up watching him throw 11 pitches a night 3x a week.

    • Please expound.

      Descriptions, similar cases, pictures, videos, what have you. Show us in detail the timing flaw, other pitchers who had that flaw and their ultimate demises, etc.

      Not saying I don’t believe you or do believe you; I’m utterly neutral at this point. I just want you to make your case.


      • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

        That’s a fair request. It requires me to establish my own blog, I think, which is something I’ve been considering doing once this season ends.

        It’s a controversial topic,, and its very exciting. Average fans have more information and more access to mechanics than ever before, and I think there’s a lot to learn and to be discovered. That’s why I hedged my subsequent explanation, because I understand how new all of this is. I just have an inherent distaste for those that attempt to paint mechanics as a simply “unknowable concept”, as if only the elite could ever come close to understanding, analyzing and critiquing it.

        Not so. At least my $0.02.

        • Works for me. I eagerly await. Your above explanation seems sound, so I won’t disagree with you in the absence of some other countermanding information from someone who can illustrate why they think Robertson’s mechanics are just peachy.

        • pete says:

          I agree with the basic premise that those of us who are as obsessed with the yankees as many of us are could study video so much that we would NOTICE peculiar things about pitchers’ deliveries. Our ability to know for sure (or even with any real confidence) the effect they have on injury likelihood, however, is almost nil without some kind of competence in sports medicine.
          Not saying i necessarily disagree, just that it’s awfully tough to know that something you see is a potential injury causer – it could very well be that that particular hitch is what generates his effectiveness. I have to say i haven’t carefully studied robertson’s mechanics, but i always thought his were good, just because they looked so clean and repeatable from my standpoint. He pitches the way HS coaches tell their pitchers to pitch – drop and drive, pop the front knee, reach towards the ground with the throwing hand. But I am now going to watch more carefully. Its an interesting suggestion, and one i haven’t heard.

          • “Not saying i necessarily disagree, just that it’s awfully tough to know that something you see is a potential injury causer – it could very well be that that particular hitch is what generates his effectiveness.”

            Not disagreeing per se, but these two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

  10. Rose says:

    Besides, I don’t think the Yankees would be foolish enough to carry an injured reliever on their World Series roster.

    You would think so…but look at Curt Schilling in 2004. Not only did they risk ridiculous injury but possibily a career ending one as well…and he was not only on the roster…but even after his poor performance…they magically repaired his ankle immediately without any healing being done…have the R&D, as well as actual final magic boot be made within a few days by Reebok…and he was out there a few days later and pitched incredible against a stacked Yankees team.

    Believable? Not really. But that’s what we were spoon fed so that’s what it is.

  11. Bo says:

    I dont think the Yankees would let Mariano Rivera pitch hurt now let alone David Robertson.

  12. Ivan says:

    The Yanks having a stronger offense is just plain wrong. The Yankees in their existence have never and I mean never encountered an offense like the Phils


  13. Would someone tell that dumbfuck Indians fan to stop whining that the reserve clause isn’t around anymore and ask Indians management why they paid a combined $20m to Jake Westbrook and Kerry Wood this season?

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.