Mar
02

Chan Ho Park and the very crowded bullpen

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Chan Ho Park and Dave Eiland chat during the newest Yankee’s first mound session yesterday in Tampa. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

When the Yankees signed Chan-Ho Park, they were adding to a significant strength. Last year, the Yanks’ pen had a 3.91 ERA with an AL-leading 40 wins and only 17 losses. The pen’s overall 1.25 WHIP (1.25), 8.4 K/9 IP and 2.43 K/BB were all at or near the top of the league, and although we weren’t sure what Park’s role would be with the team, we knew that the Yanks’ pen had gotten even deeper with a pitcher who was 15 relief runs above replacement last year.

With Park in Tampa yesterday, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi revealed their plans for the right-hander. As he signed a guaranteed contract (albeit for a small price) and the Yanks view him as a key piece of their pitching staff, he is assured a spot on the Opening Day roster. “He can do a lot of things,” Girardi said. “He’s a guy who gives me a lot of versatility out there.”

How that will impact the rest of the team’s bullpen is an open subject. “There’s clearly a lot of competition,” Cashman said. “Hopefully we can stay healthy, but it’s unrealistic to expect health. A lot of time this stuff works itself out. I just feel, before we start games, we have a better foundation going into the game of spring training this year than we did last year. We’re a little deeper, a little more flexible.”

Considering that Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Jonathan Albaladejo and Brian Bruney all broke camp with the Yanks last year, Cashman is certainly right to note the depth and flexibility of this year’s pen. Even the worst bullpen the Yanks can assemble is better than last April’s, and as the old baseball maxim goes, there is no such thing as too much pitching.

So what would these potential bullpens look like for the Yankees? Let’s assume that the Yanks are going to take 12 pitchers north with them to Boston at the start of April. The guys guaranteed to make the team right now are CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Javier Vazquez, Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte and Chan Ho Park. That leaves us with a series of candidates to fill out the final five spots, but in reality, two of those spots are taken.

Because the Yankees are not going to risk putting them on waivers, both Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin are, today, members of the 25-man roster. I fully expect Mitre to be traded before the end of Spring Training, but we cannot assume he definitely will be off the Yanks by April 4. If he isn’t traded, the Yanks will keep him around.

We’re left with three spots. David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and darkhorse candidate Boone Logan will be fighting for those three spots. All of these pitchers have options remaining, and that roster flexibility gives the Yanks numerous options. So far, this is a problem 29 other teams would love to have.

Now, the challenging part of this equation is ability. I believe the Yanks want to put the best team forward, but at the same time, they’re not going to sacrifice depth for a marginal bullpen upgrade. Last year, based on either BP’s Win Expectancy above Replacement Level (WXRL) or Fangraphs’ relieving runs above replacement, three of these candidates were among the Yanks’ top four relievers. Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves and David Robertson were the three best non-Mariano relievers on the 2009 Yankees, and yet, the team seems willing to open up the year with one of those guys at AAA.

For the Yanks, the best AAA candidate would seem to be Phil Hughes. He has an innings limit and should be working as a starter for as long as he can this year. If that means starting the year at AAA and being the first arm called up, that’s a risk I’d be willing to take. The Yanks could send Aceves down and keep Hughes in the 8th inning role, but this move reeks of short-term planning at the expense of long-term success. Last year, the Yanks’ pitchers enjoyed unexpected health. Can we expect them to do it again this year?

The idea of sending Phil Hughes, Eighth Inning Superstar, to the minors is enough to rankle the heartiest Mike Francesas among us, but it’s something the Yanks should consider. With Chan Ho Park on board, they have the arms and the depth to afford to make this move, and if it doesn’t work out in April, the Yanks can always summon Hughes from the minors. After all, most of the April 2009 bullpen was long gone before the Yanks popped their celebratory corks in November.

Categories : Death by Bullpen

191 Comments»

  1. The idea of sending Phil Hughes, Eighth Inning Superstar, to the minors is enough to rankle the heartiest Mike Francesas among us, but it’s something the Yanks should consider. With Chan Ho Park on board, they have the arms and the depth to afford to make this move, and if it doesn’t work out in April, the Yanks can always summon Hughes from the minors.

    Repeated for emphasis; well said.

    Also, annyong-hi kashipshio, Dogen-beard. We hardly knew ye.

  2. pat says:

    Hughes to Scranton would be a pretty tough pill to swallow, but I suppose allowing him to throw 35 change ups a game to AAA hitters would have its benefits in the long run.

    • The fact that he’s in Scranton while the high-leverage innings he’d be throwing with the big club will be thrown by 5 potenially very, very good relievers (Mo-Marte-Robertson-Park-Aceves) should be enough to make the pill easier to swallow, IMO.

      The “Phil has no business in the minors” crew will focus on the fact that he’s in Scranton while Gaudin and Mitre, two seemingly inferior pitchers are with the big club, but not only is there a gigantic extenuating circumstance (the inability to option Gaudin/Mitre to the minors) but there is also a roster construction argument.

      Gaudin and Mitre offer quality long-relief options (with fungible arms) without requiring any sort of regular work. In other words, if there’s a blowout or a rainout or some unforeseen tightness or any of a dozen other reasons to have a longman around in the early going, they can do that, but if there’s not and you want to/need to waste their arms at the end of the bench, 2009 Brett Tomko-style, well, no big whoop. It’s just Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre.

      Having them collect dust won’t hurt anyone. I doubt Phil Hughes will be missed for a month or two in Scranton building up innings.

  3. mbonzo says:

    There were suggestions on mlbtraderumor to send Mitre to the Dodgers for the rights to Hoffman. I think that would solve a lot of problems.

    • This isn’t meant to be a snarky question. So don’t take it as such. If you were the Dodgers, why would you do that trade? Unless they absolutely need Mitre by the end of Spring Training, what use would they have for him beyond just pitching depth? They wouldn’t be able to send him down to the minors either.

      • Meat Loaf says:

        I’ll bite. They do not have a 5th starter, correct? Even if he’s the 6th starter, wouldn’t he be better than having no backup plan? Would that cause him to be more valuable than Hoffmann’s rights?

        • mbonzo says:

          Although Jarrod Washburn is still available as a free agent, theres doesn’t appear to be much interest in him by the Dodgers since last trade deadline. The Dodgers fifth starter appears to be Eric Stults. In that case Mitre may be an upgrade from Stults, and if not replace Weaver as the long reliever. Obviously you have a point Ben that Mitre is almost worthless to most teams, but I do believe he can compete with Stults. If Washburn fails to sign with the Dodgers and Hoffman has a good spring training, I see this is a realistic trade.

        • 1. Kershaw
          2. Billingsley
          3. Padilla
          4. Kuroda
          5. Stults
          6. McDonald
          7. Elbert
          8. Haeger
          9. Ramon Ortiz
          10. Russ Ortiz
          11. Josh Towers

          Nah, I bet they’d rather have Hoffmann than Mitre. The young guns of Stults/McDonald/Elbert/Haeger should unearth at least one decent fifth starter, and they’ve got fringy vet swingmen behind the kids. Mitre’s not enough of an upgrade to lose out on Hoffmann’s potential.

          I could be wrong, though.

    • Bo says:

      What team would want Mitre? He stinks

      You couldnt get a bag o balls for him at this point

  4. BigBlueAL says:

    From everything Ive read so far I dont think there is a chance in hell the “loser” between Joba and Hughes will go to AAA to keep starting waiting for someone to get hurt. All indications are the loser will become the primary set-up man period, especially if they are serious about really limiting Mo’s innings and appearances during the season.

    Im not saying it is right or wrong Im just saying dont hold your breath hoping for the non 5th starter to start in AAA rather than go to the bullpen.

    • Zack says:

      “From everything Ive read”

      Just wondering; the places you read that, do they also make mention of bulldog mentalities and that it’s obvious who the Yankees FO want in the 5th spot?

  5. Still waiting for Axisa’s post fully explaining why Hughes should not go to AAA.

    /this almost feels like watching WWE call outs. No? Not really?

  6. Mike HC says:

    I wouldn’t exactly call the Marte, Robertson, Park and Aceves group a sure thing. Although it should be a very solid group. Non of them approach the pitching talent that Joba and Hughes possess though. I would have to think there will be a drop off is neither Joba nor Hughes are in the pen.

    The drop off could be acceptable though, if Hughes is needed as a starter, assuming Joba wins the job out of spring. The problem is, what if the Yanks don’t need a 6th starter for an extended period of time? It would kinda be a waste to have Hughes in AAA, especially when the AL East race could come down to only a game or two. If the Yanks get too cute in the beginning, it is possible it could come back to haunt them.

    Saying that, I have faith they will make the right decision. Whatever that is, because I sure as hell do not know. Good problem to have, but I don’t envy “the decider.”

    • If the long-term goal is to turn Phil Hughes into a starting pitcher, the Yankees simply cannot keep Hughes in the bullpen for the eighth inning. Overall, Hughes was worth 2.2 wins to the Yanks and that was with his stellar bullpen work. He’s more valuable in the rotation if he can find even a modicum of success, and the Yanks will be fine finding someone else to hold down the eight.

      • Mike HC says:

        Yea. I tend to agree with you. But it is easier to say that in Spring Training before the games start to count. Let’s say the Yanks start Hughes in AAA. Maybe the pen without Hughes will be great, so there would be no need to call him up. But what if there are some struggles and we start the year in 3rd place. How long are you willing to keep Hughes in the minors (kinda rhetorical question here)? I do not know the answers. I just think that keeping Hughes in AAA indefinitely, and or until a starting spot opens up, might not be the best decision for the team. Although it would surely be the best decision for his long term development.

        • Big Juan says:

          I just think that keeping Hughes in AAA indefinitely, and or until a starting spot opens up, might not be the best decision for the team. Although it would surely be the best decision for his long term development.

          But the thing is, these are the Yankees. As good as Hughes would be in the bullpen, does their season really depend on that one inning he would be pitching every few days? I don’t think so.

          The great thing about the Yankees is that they’re good enough to be able to do something like this with Hughes and still win.

        • But what if there are some struggles and we start the year in 3rd place. How long are you willing to keep Hughes in the minors (kinda rhetorical question here)?

          My answer: Phil Hughes is not the only “relief pitcher” we have in the organization. If another reliever is struggling (and his name is not Mo, Marte, or Park, who have earned the benefit of the doubt due to their seniority and track record), then they’ll either be demoted (Aceves or Robertson) or DFA’d/traded (Mitre or Gaudin).

          But Hughes wouldn’t be Option #1 to replace them. That would be Logan or Melancon, possibly Romulo or Albaladejo as well. If all four of those guys bomb, then yes, move Phil back into the big league pen.

          So, I guess… June. If we have multiple pen failures from the Aceves/DRob/Gaudin/Mitre/Logan/Melancon/Albaladejo/Romulo grouping, Phil can abandon starting and come to the rescue.

          • Mike HC says:

            I can agree with that. There are some other guys in the mix. It would still take a lot of balls/sticking to your guns though, to trot out a bunch of relatively unproven guys, while Hughes dominates AAA (at least he should dominate AAA).

            But there is at least a point where you recognize he is more important to the ML pen, then waiting for his development as the maybe necessary starter next year. There is a chance the same five come back again. Then what? (we can wait till next year for that one.

    • The problem is, what if the Yanks don’t need a 6th starter for an extended period of time? It would kinda be a waste to have Hughes in AAA…

      If we don’t need a 6th starter for an extended period of time, that means our rotation is the tits and Hughes wouldn’t be “wasted” in AAA because he wouldn’t be an upgrade over the top-5 starters we have. Which brings us back to Hughes in the bullpen:

      …especially when the AL East race could come down to only a game or two. If the Yanks get too cute in the beginning, it is possible it could come back to haunt them.

      As good as Hughes is, I bet the difference between him and the Marte/Robertson/Aceves/Park four headed monster is less than a single game over the course of the year. Those four relievers were damn good last year, and they have true talent levels higher than some of the other flash-in-the-pan guys who got good results despite poor peripherals or stuff (i.e. Veras/Edwar/Bruney/etc.)

      And, in any event, the likelihood is that one of those top 7 relievers gets hurt one way or another and Phil’s permanently in the big league pen by the ASB anyway.

      • Tom Zig says:

        Permanently as in like permanently for 2010 or permanent like forever?

        • 2010 only.

          Joba and Phil won’t ever be “permanent like forever” in the bullpen, methinks. They’re starters and the team knows it; all their trips to and from the pen have been planned stays for a fixed but finite amount of time.

          No matter how much it upsets Diet Coke Boy, SBGL, touchtoneterriost and their ilk, Joba and Phil are startin’ pitchahs.

          • Sorry for the momentary heart-attack-inducing confusion.

          • Bo says:

            They are? What roles were they in last yr in the playoffs? What was Hughes all yr?

            • What role was Chad Billingsley in the 2009 playoffs?
              What role was David Price in the 2008 playoffs?
              What role was Ervin Santana in the 2007 playoffs?
              What role was Adam Wainwright in the 2006 playoffs?
              What role was Wandy Rodriguez in the 2005 playoffs?
              What role was Dan Haren in the 2004 playoffs?
              What role was Rich Harden in the 2003 playoffs?

              They were all put in the bullpen for the playoffs. Why? Because good young starters get put in the bullpen for the playoffs all the time, because you only use 3 or 4 man rotations and good young starters have less experience and less seniority, so they lose their spots first.

              It happens EVERY FUCKING YEAR, Bo. Are any of those moves to the bullpen permanent? No. That would be ridiculous.

              Here’s the real question, SBGL:

              Why do you insist on boversimplifying EVERYTHING?

      • Mike HC says:

        If the bullpen is performing well without Hughes, then I agree he should begin the year, and stay in AAA. But if those guys struggle, for the first, lets say 35 games, what then? Keep Hughes in AAA anyway? Or bring him up to the pen? Assuming Hughes starts the year in AAA (pretty big assumption at this point), you won’t have to predict how those guys do. My only concern is if they struggle, which is at least a possibility. It would be a tough decision to make. Maybe easier for you.

    • Drew says:

      Developing young starters in the minors is in no way a waste.

      • Being “wasted” in first half of 2009 with the PawSox probably helped Clay Buchholz become a better starting pitcher in the second half of 2009 with the big club.

      • Mike HC says:

        That is where the “kinda a waste” comes in. He would be quite useful on the ML team, especially if the pen is struggling, but he would be in AAA on the hope he develops into a good starter.

        I did not mean to imply it is a waste to develop young starting pitchers in the minor leagues. Poor word choice by me probably.

  7. Big Juan says:

    While I’m on Scranton ’till the strech bandwagon, I have a feeling it won’t happen.

    If this is the case, I sincerely hope Girardi is willing to use Hughes for 2, 3, even 4 innings at a time. This way, he can build up innings, get more big league experience, and have the opportunity to use all of his pitches. To put him on the big league roster and have him pitch one inning is a waste.

    How about this — Mo needs a day off? Hand the ball to Phil in the 6th or 7th and let him take it the distance.

    • In theory, I like that idea but in practice it runs into some problems. If you use Phil from the 6th or 7th until the 9th, how many days rest do you have to give him in between outings? And then what do you do with a shortened bullpen the rest of the time?

      • Big Juan says:

        Both very good points.

        I would think if Phil was used in this role he’d need 4 days rest, basically like a starter.

        In terms of the shortened bullpen, I think that’s the beauty of having guys like Aceves, Gaudin and Park out there. They can go multiple innings as well.

        Obviously there are flaws in this theory, but I think it could work.

    • Big Juan says:

      How about we make that Scranton till the stretch?

      Better? I thought so.

    • I sincerely hope Girardi is willing to use Hughes for 2, 3, even 4 innings at a time. This way, he can build up innings, get more big league experience, and have the opportunity to use all of his pitches.

      I have yet to see this “Let’s creatively use our young ace starter in the making in the bullpen as a quasi-long-man pitching situational relief in larger chunks so that he throws 100+ IP on the year but doesn’t break his arm” plan successfully executed.

      I’m not holding my breath. You can do that with guys like Aceves or Mendoza, guys who A) have rubber arms, B) are over the age of 25, and C) don’t have ace ceilings so causing permanent damage is less of an opportunity cost. You don’t do that with guys like Hughes.

      • Big Juan says:

        You can do that with guys like Aceves or Mendoza, guys who A) have rubber arms, B) are over the age of 25, and C) don’t have ace ceilings so causing permanent damage is less of an opportunity cost. You don’t do that with guys like Hughes.

        Very true. But why can’t Hughes be used as a reliever the same way Chamberlain was used as a starter at the end of last season? You make sure he’s rested like a starter and let him go 3-4 innings.

        Of course here, there is the issue of reality — the game may not dictate Hughes getting this type of work every 5 days, meaning he collects a little too much dust in the pen.

        However, if anyone could make something like this work, it may be Girardi.

        • . But why can’t Hughes be used as a reliever the same way Chamberlain was used as a starter at the end of last season? You make sure he’s rested like a starter and let him go 3-4 innings.

          Because virtually every single member of the Yankees team, not least of all Joba himself, hated that arrangement.

          And because, like you said, the “Let’s have Hughes throw innings 6-7-8-9 of a game so he gets a lot of work” also means curtailing the work of one of your starters to innings 1-2-3-4-5, and that is something these starters don’t like or want to do either. They want to pitch the 6th, 7th, 8th; they’re being paid to do so; those innings affect their postseason awards and career totals and rate stats and future contracts and personal pride and blah blah blah.

          Oh, and you’re also cutting into the innings and workload of the other relievers in your bullpen. They start to get rusty from not enough work.

          It’s a lovely idea in the abstract, but you quickly run into loggerheads at who’s innings are getting artificially cut so that Hughes the quasi-reliever can have his innings artificially inflated. So teams always say “We’re going to give Quasi Starter X a heavier workload” and try to do it but quickly fail.

          It’s like a 6 man rotation. Works on paper, doesn’t work in real life.

        • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

          the game may not dictate Hughes getting this type of work every 5 days, meaning he collects a little too much dust in the pen.

          Bingo. You can’t plan for how deep into games the starters will go.

  8. Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

    Assuming the Yankees sign Jeter and Mariano for the same amount they cost this year, they would have $180 million tied up into 11 next year. This is without: a starting DH, a starting LF, and THREE SPs. Hughes has to get some innings this year, because he has to be a cost-controlled, young, very important part of 2011′s rotation.

    • Big Juan says:

      Agreed.

      If it means a few leads get blown in the 8th this year, so be it. Phil Hughes is going to be an important starting pitcher for the Yankees in 2011 and hopefully he is treated as such.

    • no.27 says:

      That doesn’t really tell the whole story when the Yankees will have $187.5M committed to 14 players (before Joba and Hughes get arbitration) every starting position filled except LF and 1 SP spot.

      Also, I think there is hope that by then Posada and Montero can split DH/C duties, saving $5.25M on Nick Johnson.

      I definitely agree that developing Hughes to be ready to start a full season in 11 is important, but the team isn’t going have that many holes to fill next year.

  9. Kiersten says:

    Ok, so everyone’s talking about Hughes building up innings, but what about the innings limit? I understand we want him to reach it, but if he starts for the entire season, we’ll have a repeat of the 2009 Joba situation with him come August. I know we want to build him as a starter, but it seems to me keeping him in the bullpen til June or so (I mean someone will get hurt at some point) will allow him to reach his target innings.

    Of course, this is all assuming that he would stay in the rotation, which, of course, we’d have no way to tell at this point.

    • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

      True, but it’s possible that Hughes dominates and we have a repeat of the 2009 Hughes situation come August (aka he’s still in the bullpen cause Giardi relies on him so much.)

      • Kiersten says:

        Also true, but I think the Yankees realize this year that he needs to be trained to be a starter since Pettitte will most likely be gone in ’11. So I would hope that wouldn’t happen again.
        Plus, if the bullpen is as good as we think it will be, there won’t be as much need for him out there.

    • I know we want to build him as a starter, but it seems to me keeping him in the bullpen til June or so (I mean someone will get hurt at some point) will allow him to reach his target innings.

      It’s a better/safer option to start him in the rotation and move him to the bullpen than vice versa. We can have greater control over how many innings he pitches and at what rate; we get greater control over his rest; we can retain his minor league option and the roster flexibility it entails by beginning his year in AAA.

      He should start first and relieve second, not the other way around. Particularly since transitioning him from reliever to starter would have to happen at the big league level (since he can’t be sent down post-May without a waiver exposure), and that means more 2008-2009 Joba Chamberlain Abbreviated Start Hijinks™.

      No thanks.

  10. no.27 says:

    I don’t think the bullpen is as strong as some people make it out to be. Robertson, Aceves, Marte, and Park make up a really strong group of middle relievers, but there isn’t one of them that can be depended on like Hughes can in the setup role.

    That being said, the rotation and the lineup are so strong, that they should be able to win without Hughes on the big league club. Having him spend this season developing as a starter and stretch out his innings limits would be huge for the Yankees down the line.

    My problem with the bullpen would be Mitre. Gaudin is able to be effective for 1 inning and for 3 innings. This makes Mitre redundant. I’d rather see a lefty or another short reliever on the roster.

    • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

      Fun fact: Damaso Marte has spent almost his entire career as a setup man.

      • Fun Fact #2: 1,382 of the career 2,042 (67.6%) of the batters Damaso Marte have faced have been in the 8th, 9th, or extra innings.

        • no.27 says:

          Marte’s success against lefty batters who are terrible against lefty pitchers in the World Series has skewed the fans’ view of him. He pitched very well, but faced 1 righty the entire series.

          He’s been ineffective his entire time in NY. Yes, I know that he’s done well in a set up role for the Pirates, and White Sox. The difference is that when I consider what is reasonable to expect out of a reliever, I don’t put that much weight into what a he did 3+ years ago. At least not compared to what he’s done recently.

          • Marte’s success against lefty batters who are terrible against lefty pitchers in the World Series has skewed the fans’ view of him. He pitched very well, but faced 1 righty the entire series.

            He’s been ineffective his entire time in NY. Yes, I know that he’s done well in a set up role for the Pirates, and White Sox.

            Yeah, stop paying so much attention to this small sample size that agrees with Marte’s larger career numbers and pay more attention to this other sample size that disagrees with his career numbers. Pretty please, because I asked nicely.

            The difference is that when I consider what is reasonable to expect out of a reliever, I don’t put that much weight into what a he did 3+ years ago. At least not compared to what he’s done recently.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

            • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

              Shucks. Same minute and everything.

            • no.27 says:

              “Yeah, stop paying so much attention to this small sample size that agrees with Marte’s larger career numbers and pay more attention to this other sample size that disagrees with his career numbers. Pretty please, because I asked nicely.”

              The sample size isn’t the issue with my argument. The issue is that it’s been 2 years since he was a dependable reliever. He’s also going to be 35 this year and has thrown a lot of innings in relief.

              You are certain that Marte can be counted on as the set up guy. I don’t even know if he’s the team’s best option (assuming Hughes and Joba aren’t options). Who has the more reasonable side of this argument?

              • Big Juan says:

                The sample size isn’t the issue with my argument. The issue is that it’s been 2 years since he was a dependable reliever. He’s also going to be 35 this year and has thrown a lot of innings in relief.

                Well, actually, sample size is the issue with your argument.

                1) You’re failing to take into account the fact that his 31 innings in Pinstripes do not represent his abilities.

                2) If we’re throwing away the concept of SSS, it hasn’t been two years since he’s been an effective reliever — it’s been about 3 months, seeing as how he was great in the World Series.

                • no.27 says:

                  Marte wasn’t used in a set up role during the world series and was used against lefties for all but 1 batter. His performance in the World Series says very little about what he can do as a set up guy.

                  No one is throwing away the issue of small sample size. I completely agree that Marte’s small number of performances as a Yankee do not represent his ability.

                  My issue is that he has not been an effective reliever for 2 years, has had injury problems, and is a 35 year old that has already pitched a ton of innings.

                  Are you guys unable to acknowledge this?

                • My issue is that he has not been an effective reliever for 2 years, has had injury problems, and is a 35 year old that has already pitched a ton of innings.

                  That’s a fair concern. I’m bullish on Marte doing well in ’10 largely because his career sample says he should, and he looked good after he was 100% after injury. Still, he’s an old reliever (by nature, volatile) with injury concerns. Can’t just discount the possibility that something could go wrong just because I don’t necessarily expect it to.

                • But also, he was effective in 2008 with the Pirates and the latter part of 2009 with the Yankees. It’s the injuries and miles that would be of concern to me—not the notion that he hasn’t been effective.

                • Big Juan says:

                  My issue is that he has not been an effective reliever for 2 years, has had injury problems, and is a 35 year old that has already pitched a ton of innings. Are you guys unable to acknowledge this?

                  The problem is, as myself and others have outlined in numerous other posts, that this just isn’t true. He has been an effective reliever in the past two years.

                  He experienced a rough patch with injuries and acclimation. His performance at the end of 2009 indicate that he is back to his normal self.

                • no.27 says:

                  1, I’m not changing my argument, I’m expanding and clarifying it.

                  2, Marte has not been effective, at least not against rh hitting, which is important for a set up guy.

                  Without getting caught up in his performance while in NY, he has not been an effective reliever. His number against righties were terrible in 2009.

                  He hasn’t been able to get right handed hitters out since he’s been in the AL.

                  If you combine his lack of effectiveness over the last 2 years with his age and injuries, you have a guy that doesn’t have a good chance to be a set up guy on the Yankees.

              • The sample size isn’t the issue with my argument. The issue is that it’s been 2 years since he was a dependable reliever.

                Which Damaso Marte are we going to get? The one from his 46 appearances in the second half of 2008 and all of 2009 when was hurt? Or the one from the other eight and a half years of his big league career?

                /Anonymous Scout X’d

          • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

            The difference is that when I consider what is reasonable to expect out of a reliever, I don’t put that much weight into what a he did 3+ years ago. At least not compared to what he’s done recently.

            The difference is that when I consider what is reasonable to expect out of a reliever, I put more stock in his first 455 career innings, rather than his last 31.

          • Big Juan says:

            Marte’s success against lefty batters who are terrible against lefty pitchers in the World Series has skewed the fans’ view of him.

            Raul Ibañez career vs. LHP: .269/.326/.434

            Ryan Howard career vs. LHP: .226/.310/.444

            Chase Utley career vs. LHP: .282/.388/.492

            The only one in that group who has significant struggles vs. LHP is Howard.

            The difference is that when I consider what is reasonable to expect out of a reliever, I don’t put that much weight into what a he did 3+ years ago.

            So you’re saying it’s reasonable to dismiss the 454.1 innings Marte has pitched with other teams in which he has been an above average reliever and judge him solely on the 31.2 innings he’s pitched with the Yankees? Oh, okay.

            That’s called SSS.

            And this: http://comixed.com/2009/11/22/.....r-dolphin/

            Just because.

            • no.27 says:

              Fair point, Howard is the only hitter of the 3 that is terrible against lefties. He did face Howard more than any other hitter though.

              Again, the point isn’t that his 30 something innings in NY have been bad. It’s that he hasn’t been good in 2 years and is going to be a 35 year old relief pitcher with a lot of innings on his arm.

              • Big Juan says:

                Again, the point isn’t that his 30 something innings in NY have been bad. It’s that he hasn’t been good in 2 years

                First of all, those 30 IP in NY are basically his last two years of pitching. So you’re contradicting himself.

                Second of all, the notion that he hasn’t been good in two years is completely false. Before being traded to the Yankees in 2008, he pitched 46.2 innings for the Pirates with a 3.47 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 9.1 K/9 and 38 hits allowed. That’s hardly ineffective.

                So again, we’re back to the 30 IP in New York that he didn’t perform like his normal self. Finally, at the end of 2009 he gets fully healthy, and adjusted to New York and becomes one of their most reliable arms.

                Please tell me you see where I’m going with this…

                • no.27 says:

                  Look,

                  If you think you can depend on a 35 year old Marte to last a full season as a set up guy, then you have a lot more faith in him than I do. If I remember correctly, Marte was one of the most used relievers in the league for the 5 year period before coming to the Yankees and has been ineffective and injured since. He’s going to be 35 next year.

                  If you really think the safer bet is on him lasting a full season as a set up guy, you should go out and make that bet, because you will get great odds.

                • Big Juan says:

                  This is a different argument. One that I can at least entertain.

                  It’s certainly possible that Marte is on the verge of breaking down. But like I said, his performance to close out ’09 indicates that he’s healthy and ready to go.

                  Not to mention the fact that it’s not Joe Torre running the bullpen into the ground anymore. Girardi does a much better job spreading the workload.

                • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalpost

                  It’s Marte’s age. No, it’s his injury concern. No, it’s his ineffectiveness. No, it’s the length of time since he was last good. No, it’s his age. No, it’s his injury concern.

                • Not to mention the fact that it’s not Joe Torre running the bullpen into the ground anymore. Girardi does a much better job spreading the workload.

                  Or: The World Baseball Classic.

                • Big Juan says:

                  Excellent point.

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  Saying he’s been ineffective based on THIRTY ONE INNINGS is the problem here. You want to say he’s an injury risk? Fine, whatever. Blaming your hatred of Damaso Marte and logic on 31 innings just doesn’t work.

                  If you take out his worst three outings as a Yankee, he has a 3.41 ERA. But because he’s only pitched THIRTY ONE INNINGS, his ERA has ballooned as a result.

                • If you take out his worst three outings as a Yankee, he has a 3.41 ERA. But because he’s only pitched THIRTY ONE INNINGS, his ERA has ballooned as a result.

                  Repeated for emphasis. The perils of the small sample size.

                  Has Damaso Marte pitched poorly over the past year and a half in pinstripes? Or has he had three bad days in the past year and a half in pinstripes that completely FUBAR’d his numbers?

                  Hmmmmmmmm…

    • Big Juan says:

      Fun Fact #2: Among pitchers with at least 40 IP in 2009, only one pitcher had a higher K/9 ratio than David Robertson — Jon Broxton.

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/p.....2/minip/40

    • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

      Gaudin is able to be effective for 1 inning and for 3 innings. This makes Mitre redundant.

      Also able to be effective for 1 and or 3 innings: Al Aceves and Chan Ho Park.

      Damn, we’re gonna have a ton of redundancy out there.

      • no.27 says:

        So you’re going to compare Mitre, who has all of 36 innings out of the bullpen in his career, and in his time in the bullpen last year was used exclusively as a long reliever, to Aceves and Park?

        If you think the bullpen needs 2 long relievers, then it makes sense to have Gaudin and Mitre in the bullpen. I don’t think that makes sense, but that’s fine.

        If you actually think it makes sense to compare Mitre to Aceves and Park, then it says a lot about what you know about baseball.

        • If you actually think it makes sense to compare Mitre to Aceves and Park, then it says a lot about what you know about baseball.

          Unnecessary. We’re all fans with a decent knowledge of baseball here. Please make your point without attacking others and their baseball knowledge. We need to add that to the comment guidelines.

        • Aceves, Park, and Gaudin:

          Three marginal/failed starters who are either capable of and have already demonstrated an ability to be much better relievers than they were starters.

          Does that mean Sergio Mitre will also be a decent-to-solidly-above-average reliever? No. But it does mean Mitre being a decent-to-solidly-above-average reliever is well within the realm of possibility.

          Sergio Mitre being a quality bullpen arm in 2010 wouldn’t be all that surprising, would it?

          • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

            I was going to copy and paste something you said, but that would’ve been awfully redundant of me.

          • no.27 says:

            So your argument has gone to the point saying that it is within the realm of possibility that Mitre decent reliever? What pitcher at Spring Training could that not be said about?

            • Have I ever told you the story of the chipmunk, the cyclist and the farmer’s daughter?

            • bexarama says:

              The point is that starters who have pretty much failed (***THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE JUSTIN CHAMBERLAIN AND PHILIP HUGHES***) can still be very productive out of the bullpen.

            • No, my argument hasn’t gone to that point.

              My response to your non-argument has gone to that point. There’s a huge difference.

              My argument, clearly outlined above, is that it’s doesn’t freaking matter what Sergio Mitre will or will not be: Either way, he should head north with the big league club and Phil Hughes should stay in Scranton. The massive talent upgrade that Hughes would present over Mitre is moot; Mitre in the big league pen and Hughes in the Scranton rotation is by far the most optimal roster construction.

              I’ll thank you to not besmirch my argument by taking it far afield to sully it irrationally, thank you.

              • no.27 says:

                Then you didn’t read what I wrote correctly.

                What I originally wrote about Mitre is that “I’d rather see a lefty or another short reliever on the roster.”

                I said that I agreed with the idea of Hughes developing in AAA. I don’t think the Yankees need 2 long relievers in the bullpen and would be better off having a lefty or another reliever in Mitre’s place.

                And I didn’t do anything to your argument other than repeat what you said.

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  The 2 points of contention with your original point were:

                  1) Where you said you had no confidence in any of the other relievers as set-up men, when there is no reason to discount Marte as a viable set-up candidate.

                  2) You said Mitre is useless simply because him and Gaudin can both go multiple innings, when there’s two other guys who can also go multiple innings.

                • And I didn’t do anything to your argument other than repeat what you said.

                  No, that’s not true at all. Let’s recap.

                  You: Mitre and Gaudin are redundant. Gaudin can be good, so we should dump Mitre.
                  Dirty Pena: Redundancy is good. We don’t need to dump anyone.
                  You: Are you seriously comparing Mitre to Park and Aceves?!?!??!?!??!
                  Dirty Pena and I: Yes. There are similarities.
                  You: BUT MITRE IS NOT A RELIEVER AND HE SUCKS!!!!!!
                  Me: That doesn’t change the fact that there are similarities. Mitre could actually be quite effective as a reliever.
                  You: So your argument is Mitre could be effective, maybe? That’s your whole argument?!?!?
                  Me: No, I don’t really have an argument in this discussion. You’re just misinterpreting what people are saying here.

                  … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

                • no.27 says:

                  “1) Where you said you had no confidence in any of the other relievers as set-up men, when there is no reason to discount Marte as a viable set-up candidate.”

                  Marte hasn’t been a reliable set up man in 2 years, he’s 35 years old with a lot of mileage on his arm, he’s recently had injury problems.

                  “2) You said Mitre is useless simply because him and Gaudin can both go multiple innings, when there’s two other guys who can also go multiple innings.”

                  Gaudin is a long reliever, so is Mitre. No need to have 2 long relievers in 1 bullpen. Having a 2nd lefty so they can try to use Marte as more than a LOOGY, or another relief pitcher helps to make up a better bullpen than having a 2nd long guy.

                  Anyone that is as confident in Mitre and Marte as you guys are should go to Vegas, parlay these bets for a $2. You’ll all be millionaire when it happens. Or, you could double your odds and just buy lotto tickets.

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  As I said above, take out Marte’s 3 worst outings as a Yankee, and he has a 3.41 ERA as a Yankee. He was a reliable set-up man for the better part of 2008, so really all you are saying is that he was unreliable in 2009. Many, many 34 year olds have been injured, come back healthy, and remained healthy (especially after an entire offseason).

                  Nobody said anything about confidence in Mitre. Also, nobody said that both Mitre AND Gaudin MUST be long relievers, except you. Just because they CAN go multiple innings doesn’t mean they have to.

                  Why are Royce Ring, Boone Logan, or Kei Igawa better options than Mitre anyway? So Marte can be a LOOGY and one of these scrubs is going to do what exactly?

                  2 LOOGY’S>>>>>>2 “long relievers” FTW

                • no.27 says:

                  The reasons for having 2 lefties in the bullpen, especially when the hope is that Marte will be able to be used as more than a LOOGY is obvious.

                  If you take out Marte’s 3 worst appearances, how many innings are you left with?

                  There are far more cases of 35 year old relievers getting injured and never bouncing back. I don’t see how this is such a hot topic.

                  It is much more likely that Marte will not be a good set up man in 2010.

              • Bo says:

                Tough to take anyone seriously if they think Mitre should be pitching in the Bronx and not Hughes.

            • Big Juan says:

              Your argument is that Marte’s last 31 innings, which were not in line with his other 455 IP, mean he isn’t a reliable pitcher.

              What pitcher hasn’t pitched poorly for some stretch in his career?

              • Your argument is that Marte’s last 31 innings, which were not in line with his other 455 IP, mean he isn’t a reliable pitcher.

                AND that Marte’s last 31 innings mean more than the 455 before them because those 31 came at the END. Even though what actually came at the end was 5.2 IP in the playoffs where he was brilliant.

                That part at the very end doesn’t count, but the other part at the almost end, that counts. But whatever happened more than 18 months ago also does not count.

                Because I said so.

              • no.27 says:

                How many times do I need to repeat that the issue isn’t the innings that he’s pitched in NY, but the fact that he hasn’t been a dependable pitcher for 2 years, he’s 35 years old, and that he’s pitched a lot of innings as far as relievers go?

                Relief pitchers don’t have very long lives.

        • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

          Sergio Mitre has started 61 of 90 games in his career (67.7%.) Chan Ho Park has started 287 of 423 games in his career (67.8%.) But you’re right- unfair comparison.

          • no.27 says:

            Park has pitched over 120 innings in relief over the last 2 seasons. What are you talking about?

            • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

              Sergio Mitre has started 61 of 90 games in his career (67.7%.) Chan Ho Park has started 287 of 423 games in his career (67.8%.) But you’re right- unfair comparison.

              Though I guess you are right, because by your logic anything that happened before July 2008, didn’t actually happen.

              • Though I guess you are right, because by your logic anything that happened before July 2008, didn’t actually happen.

                Different era. No way to compare it.

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  Yeah, here I am thinking I know a thing or 2 about baseball. Little did I know, I knew nothing about baseball, but time itself.

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  Little did I know, I not only knew nothing about baseball, but time itself.

              • no.27 says:

                One guy has proven that he can be a quality relief pitcher, the other hasn’t.

                What is complicated about this?

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  None of the alternatives that could replace Mitre if Hughes or Aceves were sent down have “proven” they can be quality relief pitchers, now have they?

                • One guy has proven that he can be a quality relief pitcher, the other hasn’t.

                  What is complicated about this?

                  Here’s what’s complicated about this:

                  Chan Ho Park is 37. Sergio Mitre is 29.

                  Chan Ho Park has “proven” that he can be a quality relief pitcher because he’s older and has already been abandoned as a starter and moved to the bullpen full-time.

                  Sergio Mitre is younger; he hasn’t been “proven” as a quality relief pitcher because he hasn’t been TRIED as a relief pitcher yet.

                  Not yet doing something and not being able to do something are not remotely the same thing.

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  The sad part in all this is that we are talking about SERGIO MITRE. If he’s terrible, we just move on to the other middling pitcher who might be good as a reliever, but it makes no difference because there’s no downside. If THAT guy is terrible, we just move on to Phil Hughes.

                • This thread is a huge clusterf$#%, because one commenter is having like five or six arguments, all of them intertwined and yet not intertwined, all of them related to different people/situations/evaluations, all of them with multiple responding commenters, all of them moving arguments that change tactics and topics ad nauseam and don’t follow a logical, linear thought process, and all of them overlapping inside the multiple thread nestings.

                  This is batshit insane. no.27 just “mryankee’d” this thread.

                  I’m out. Night, all.

                • Big Juan says:

                  Unfortunately, I had no better way to spend the hours from 1-3 AM.

                • no.27 says:

                  What is the value in converting Mitre to a short reliever at this point in his career, and why would the Yankees try to do it in the Majors?

                  Do you honestly believe that this is the Yankees plan?

                  The bottom line is that in talking about options for the Yankees bullpen in 2010, Aceves, Park, Robertson, and Marte are considered middle relievers and Mitre is considered a long reliever.

                  There is NO comparing how Mitre will be used if he is even in the Yankees bullpen to how the other 4 will be used.

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  Chan Ho Park who you seem to love so much: a mediocre starter at a later point in his career was converted to a reliever, in the majors.

                  Why can this work for him and not Mitre?

                • no.27 says:

                  I haven’t said anything about loving Chan Ho Park. He’s done a good job in recent history of being a dependable relief pitcher. That gives you reason to think he can continue it.

                  Saying that starters have been converted into relievers isn’t an argument for Mitre being a a middle reliever. There has been no talk of him being used in this way, he has no experience doing it, and he most likely has more value being traded to be used as a starter than he does as an in season experiment on the Yankees roster.

                • no.27 says:

                  Goodnight Tommie.

                  If you figure out a legitimate way to compare Mitre to Park, Aceves, Robertson, or Marte in the context of their use in the 2010 Yankee bullpen
                  or
                  come up with an argument explaining why Marte can be counted on to be the set up guy although he’s a 35 year old with recent injury problems that hasn’t had a successful season in 2 years, let me know.

                • Dirty Pena: The Triple Entendre of DP says:

                  Current Sergio Mitre has absolutely no value as a starter. None. Guys like him are a dime a dozen. It’s not like this “experiment” has any downside. You bring him in for short stints in blowouts, and if he completely sucks, he’s gone. If he’s good you let him keep working his way up the totem pole, until (if) he sucks, at which point you can still let him go. We aren’t talking about trying this experiment with CC Sabathia. I don’t think the “Yankees plan” was to tender a guy, ensuring he’d be on the roster (since he has no options) only just to cut him. Who knows? Maybe Gaudin will be the middle reliever.

                • Bo says:

                  How anyone can actually argue for Mitre to make the team is beyond me.

                  hes not in the same league as Park as a late inning option.

                • How anyone can actually argue for Mitre to make the team is beyond me.

                  That’s because you don’t think about things. Ever.

  11. FMV says:

    i’ll eat a Louisville slugger if the yankees send phil hughes to AAA, if he loses the 5th starter battle.

    not saying they shouldn’t…but honestly i just have a hard time believing they have the balls for such a move.

    not really talking about cash, he is a cold blooded SOB…but everyone else in the organization.

  12. Jamal G. says:

    I think that Alfredo Aceves will be optioned down in favor of Phil Hughes taking over his role as the multi-inning fireman. Seeing as how Girardi has already stated that he sees Chan Ho Park as a ‘one- or -two-inning reliever,’ other short-inning relievers in Marte, Rivera and Robertson would join multi-inning guys Hughes, Gaudin and Mitre. By optioning Aceves and keeping the better arm at the Major League level, this allows the Yankees to both maximize their roster and talent.

    Also, this might allow Hughes to maximize his innings pitched as a reliever and keep him as ‘stretched out’ as he possibly could be whilst being at the MLB level.

    • I wonder how much interest Cashman and the Yankee brass has in seeing Hughes as the big league “multi-inning fireman”.

      That role can be more taxing on an arm. Aceves fit it well for two main reasons:

      1) He’s a quality enough starter to pitch multiple innings of relief effectively
      2) He’s not a future ace on a development track with an arm that needs to be protected. If Al Aceves blows out his arm getting up and down and pitching multiple innings in multiple games a week, it’s a minor loss. If Hughes blows out his arm, it’s a major loss.

      I see your point, but I also see the counterargument. I’m not eager to use Phil like we used Ace in 2009. That may be too much risk.

      • Jamal G. says:

        Yes, but there is precedence for treating a young starter like this (e.g., Billingsley, C; Liriano, F; Santana, J). Also, Hughes has never had anything more than a tired shoulder to deal with in regards to arm issues.

        Oh, and I am fairly certain that the Yankees will mandate Phil’s usage and how he is to be handled once he starts warming up; they are not going to abuse him in any way, shape or form.

    • Drew says:

      Eh, it’s too early to say(as far as who is pitching well enough to warrant a roster spot) but I doubt that I’d rather Gaudin and Mitre over Ace. Even though it’s a matter of options, it’s not necessarily maximizing the roster.

      I still think Hughes in AAA makes the most sense. If at the end of April, our BP is costing us games, then either Cash acquires someone or we make a call to Scranton. It’s not like Hughes is at the age where he’s got nothing to work on in AAA. Imo, plenty can be gained from him pitching every 5 days in Scranton.

      • Jamal G. says:

        Yes, but would you rather have Aceves over any one of those two in favor of not having all three in the organization? I don’t think that Alfredo Aceves is such a tremendous upgrade over either of them to warrant not keeping as much depth as possible.

  13. Sammy Fed says:

    There’s a 0% chance that the Yankees would ever send Phil Hughes to the minors after he put up the leagues’s best FIP and put up overall better numbers than Mariano Rivera. I fail to see how keeping him off the team is putting your best team forward.

    • Tom Zig says:

      It’s not putting the best team forward, but that’s not the point. The difference between Hughes in the bullpen over whoever else isn’t a huge difference. Hughes being in AAA is an interesting idea because you can have him throw his weaker pitches to gain experience/confidence in them.

      • Bo says:

        The difference between Hughes and the rest isn’t much??

        Really? I guess we didn’t watch them all perform last yr. There was a reason this team took off last yr. It was when Hughes took over the set up duty.

        How do you explain to your fans that hes in AAA after pick one blows back to back April games?

        • Zack says:

          “I guess we didn’t watch them all perform last yr”

          Well I watched Hughes suck in the playoffs, yet other guys filled in and the team won the WS

        • There was a reason this team took off last yr. It was when Hughes took over the set up duty.

          /boversimplified

        • How do you explain to your fans that hes in AAA after pick one blows back to back April games?

          Fans (mainly just SBGL): Hey, what gives? Why is Phil in AAA when we’re blowing back to back April games?

          Brian Cashman: Shut the fuck up, you stupid morons. You don’t run this team. I DO. And I do it a whole hell of a lot better than you would. Sit back, shut your stupid pieholes, watch me win this 2010 championship with my master plan, and thank me later, you ignorant ingrates.

          … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

  14. [...] K. of River Ave Blues wonders about the possible roster repercussions of the Chan Ho Park [...]

  15. SK says:

    What happens if Hughes flat out beats Joba for the 5th starter spot? The Yankees are saying its a competition for that 5th spot, what if Joba actually loses? Ship Joba off to AAA? Or put him in the bullpen… (which i would like)

  16. [...] « Chan Ho Park and the very crowded bullpen Mar [...]

  17. Bo says:

    How can they look Hughes in the eye and tell him he has to go to Scranton? After what he did last yr? His agent would scream to the heavens. How do you tell the veterans on the team that one of their 7 best pitchers will be in AAA “getting innings”?

    Hughes has dominated the minors. he has nothing left to learn there. If they really want to give him innings they can easily do it in the Bronx.

    • How can they look Hughes in the eye and tell him he has to go to Scranton?

      By looking him in the eye and telling him he’s going to Scranton, just like the Red Sox looked at Clay Buchholz in the eye and told him he was going to Pawtucket. He’s the 6th starter in a 5 man rotation. He went to Pawtucket. It was the right choice.

      After what he did last yr?

      Here’s how:
      Cashman: Hey, Phil, what you did last year was great. Unfortunately, there’s no room for you here now on Opening Day. Go to Scranton, keep working on your secondary stuff, and a hole will open up here at the big league level before you know it. Even if it doesn’t, I’m penciling you in for the stretch run in some capacity, and you’ll be in the 2011 rotation, Mo-willing.
      Phil: Okay, boss.

      His agent would scream to the heavens.

      Nobody. Gives. A. Shit.

      How do you tell the veterans on the team that one of their 7 best pitchers will be in AAA “getting innings”?

      How do you tell the veterans that one of their best pinch hitting power bats, Jesus Montero, will be in AAA “working on defense”? By telling them that you run the team and you make the long-term and short-term strategic decisions, and if they don’t like it, they can fuck off. They’re not the GM. You are.

      Hughes has dominated the minors. he has nothing left to learn there.

      So has Jesus Montero. Unfortunately, his big league position is still occupied. Therefore, he’s going to wait in AAA for an opening, and he’ll use the time in AAA to work on specific things to make himself a better player. Phil Hughes will do the same.

      If they really want to give him innings they can easily do it in the Bronx.

      No, they really can’t.

  18. [...] making eight pitchers for seven spots. Since then we’ve wondered who will take the fall. Ben wrote about it this morning, and Mike followed up with an excellent point on why Hughes, if he loses the 5th starter [...]

  19. chriso says:

    It would be a bad idea to send Phil Hughes to the minors. He’s got nothing to learn in the minors. Confidence and, maybe, an improved change-up, are the only things standing in the way of his achieving stardom as a member of the rotation. Sending him down to AAA might give him more time to work on his change-up. But it might be destructive to his confidence. And no matter how good his change-up might get, a lac of confidence would be crippling to his chances of ML success.

    Sergio Mitre isn’t all that good. He may be better in 2010 than he was in his still-rehabbing 2009. But his ML track record pre-injury isn’t good. It’s tough for me to imagine that the Yanks would risk Phil Hughes’ confidence rather than lose the absolutely mediocre Sergio Mitre.

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