Oct
05

Do the Yankees need Burnett at all in the ALDS?

By

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

As you surely know by now, the ALDS schedule lines up in a way that allows the Yankees to use just three starters, the same formula that helped bring home World Championship #27 last year. CC Sabathia gets the Ball in Game One and then again in Game Four on short rest, with Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes taking Games Two, Three, and Five (on regular rest) in some undetermined order. That leaves A.J. Burnett in a precarious position, and the best solution might be to leave him off the ALDS roster all together.

A fourth starter isn’t necessary obviously, and the Yanks will carry presumably at least one long man from a group that includes Dustin Moseley, Ivan Nova, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre (Javy Vazquez isn’t even an option, sadly). If Burnett were to be included on the playoff roster, you’ve basically got a guy that won’t be needed to start or even be used in relief since the setup crew of Kerry Wood, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, and Boone Logan figure to do as much of the heavy lifting between the starter and Mariano Rivera as humanly possible. Yeah, there’s always the possibility of extra innings or blowouts, but that’s what the guys in the first sentence are for.

It comes down to what is more useful for the Yanks against the Twins, Burnett or a more strategic reliever like Royce Ring, a second lefty for Minnesota’s lefty heavy lineup. Granted, we’re not debating between filet mignon and lobster here, it’s more like we’re on line in the McDonald’s drive-thru trying to pick stuff off the dollar menu. Chances are it’ll all make you just as sick in the end, kinda like A.J. and Ring.

Seriously though, Ring hasn’t been very impressive over the last several weeks, retiring just five of the nine lefties he was brought in to face. It was a brief but underwhelming audition, yet with Damaso Marte‘s injury* he’s the best option for a second bullpen lefty. Both Jim Thome (.477 wOBA vs. .334) and Jason Kubel (.341 wOBA vs. .297) have considerable platoon splits, so perhaps it’s worth it to have that second matchup lefty for low-leverage work even if it’s a five-piece nuggets like Ring. Sometimes the low arm slot alone is enough to throw a batter off.

It’s entirely possible that we’re overthinking things here. Considering his sheer velocity, the best option might be to just carry Burnett and let him air it out one relief inning at a time. There’s no holding back, he wouldn’t have to worry about getting through the order two or three times. It could be one of the most electric things we’ll ever see on a baseball field, or it could blow up in everyone’s face.

I’ve never been a fan of carrying a lefty reliever just because he was a lefty reliever, I’d rather take the X best pitchers regardless of handedness, but in a short series there’s a definite tactical advantage. The tenth and eleventh arms on the staff aren’t likely to see much action in a short series because of all the off days anyway, not unless something goes horribly wrong or wonderfully right, but in the off chance that one is needed, another southpaw against a lineup like that could be mighty handy.

Aside: Seriously, how awesome would it be to have both Logan and Marte in the pen in this or any other series? For shame.

Categories : Pitching, Playoffs

96 Comments»

  1. Big Stein says:

    How did Marte hurt himself?

    His last appearance was against Oakland just before the all-star game where he struck out the side with ease.

    I mean, what happened — did a hooker beat the hell outta him?

  2. Hughesus Christo says:

    Ring is human garbage, and Burnett might end up passed out in a ditch somewhere if he gets dissed like that.

  3. maurice says:

    I’d keep AJ out of the ALDS, but keep him in Minnesota where he’d be able to work with Dave Eiland and still try to figure out whatever the hell it is thats turning him into an expensive Mitre. Nova seems to be better suited for the long relief position and along with Moseley they can keep the useless spare parts (Mitre & Gaudin) as far away as humanly possible from the field. Hopefully AJ comes around during the ALCS, and if Nova does a damn good job then keep AJ off the roster for good and send him back to shoveling shit on a pig farm where he belongs.

  4. mustang says:

    “Considering his sheer velocity, the best option might be to just carry Burnett and let him air it out one relief inning at a time.”

    I rather see this then carrying Ring.

  5. forensic says:

    Granted, we’re not debating between filet mignon and lobster here, it’s more like we’re on line in the McDonald’s drive-thru trying to pick stuff off the dollar menu. Chances are it’ll all make you just as sick in the end, kinda like A.J. and Ring.

    Maybe it’s just me, but this is up there with the ‘bull in a china shop vs. cow in a pasture’ line for best of at least this year. Well done.

    • seimiya says:

      Bulls are very delicate in china shops, and will break nothing.

      /mythbusters’d

    • pete says:

      nah. “Cow in a meadow” was the best. It was perfectly juxtaposed against the proceeding “it was surprising because you don’t usually see guys like that succeed in the bullpen”

  6. Naved says:

    Carry Nova and Burnett and dump the rest of the long man scrubs.

    • B-Rando says:

      I think I’d take Burnett and Ring and leave Nova off the roster. Nova has pretty effective through the early innings, but it seems like when runners get on base and he throws from the stretch, he just goes to shit. I think I’d rather roll the dice on Burnett pitching one or two innings than Nova.

      Thats just my 2 cents on it.

  7. Avi says:

    “Do the Yankees need Burnett at all in the ALDS?”

    NO NO NO!
    No Burnett PLEASE!
    I don’t like the Ring/Thome matchup cuz Ring is a nibbler and Thome is a VERY disciplined hitter.
    Of the long relievers I like Nova, then Mitre then Moseley and would take any/all of them over AJ BurnTett.
    Nunez has really impressed me with his running skills. The ability to put a fast runner in, late in these games is huge. Think Dave Roberts.
    Swisher, Arod, Cano, Berkman, Thames, Tex, Posada. There’s a lot of guys you’d like to have a pinch runner available for on this team.

  8. Kiersten says:

    Granted, we’re not debating between filet mignon and lobster here, it’s more like we’re on line in the McDonald’s drive-thru trying to pick stuff off the dollar menu.

    great analogy.

  9. j_Yankees says:

    Do the Yankees need Burnett at all in the ALDS?

    Probably not. But i see the need of a long man/starter being less about blowouts and extra innings than it is about Pettitte’s health being in question.

  10. bonestock94 says:

    Burnett not on the ALDS roster = my mind blown.

    • Avi says:

      Were you watching him pitch this season?

      • Tom Zig says:

        I may or not may overplaying this issue but……… and I really hate calling someone a head case, but I think Burnett has confidence issues so therefore……

        I think leaving him off the ALDS roster will be a mistake. Not because we’ll need him but because it will absolutely shatter him.

        • sevrox says:

          Then let him be shattered. Yank fan base has been shattered most every time he’s taken the mound this past season. Eph’em. He needs to break down whatever his problem is so maybe ‘we’ can get some use out of him for the rest of his overpayed Yankee years.

      • bonestock94 says:

        He’s better than Mitre, Gaudin, and Moseley.

  11. Dream of Electric Sheep/ still haven't register /too lazy says:

    Do the Yankees need Burnett at all in the ALDS?
    ———————————–
    Well, I don’t think Burnett is needed as a starter in the playoff ,period ! I prefer Moseley and Nova as starters over him in ALCS.
    I think he is best suited for nothing to extreme garbage time at this point.

    After watching him for the better part of last couple month, I simply don’t think Burnett can get out any good hitting teams with his one pitch arsenal.

    • Dream of Electric Sheep/ still haven't register /too lazy says:

      Burnett reminds me of the expensive Turbo Graphfx 16 system my parents purchased for me before Nintendo 64 came on the scene-
      An expensive , one time shining novelty item that is going out of style in a jiffy.

      Bonk’s advantures still rulez though.

  12. bonestock94 says:

    Seriously, if Hughes or Pettitte shit the bed really early in the game I want Burnett coming in over any long reliever. Mitre, Gaudin, Ring, and Moseley are inferior to him. Nova is good but a volatile rookie.

  13. James says:

    A.J. scares the hell out of me, but Pettitte could pull up lame at any time with aches and pains and A.J. could be used for a spot start.

    A.J. has been the definition of replacement level for most of the year…but has it *really* come to the point that we trust Dustin Moseley more than A.J. Burnett?

    • Dream of Electric Sheep/ still haven't register /too lazy says:

      Yes , James. There are simply too many ways you can score off b
      Burnett at this point.

      1. he can’t command his fb and can’t throw his secondary pitch for strikes period which results in hitter sitting dead red and crushing him.

      2. Those gets base via HBP and BB invariably advances due to WP or stolen bases.

      3. He gets rattled/frustrated/stupid’ed/stubborn when the above two things normally occurs, and lose his focus. Boom ! The game is out of hand.

      So, yeah, I pick no stuff Moseley over him.

      • Moseley’s been worse than Burnett. Based on Fangraphs’ WAR, Moseley is -0.5 wins below replacement while Burnett was worth a whopping 1 win above replacement. Burnett also sported better FIP/xFIP numbers. Beyond our generally frustration with Burnett, it’s awfully hard to make the argument that Moseley is better.

        • Dream of Electric Sheep/ still haven't register /too lazy says:

          I am making it Ben ! I think Moseley when he is right , can command the strike zone with his junk balling arsenal and give the Yanks a fighting chance say ,4 runs/6 inning performances, than Burnett.

          On the other hand, I see no evidences AJ can command anything right now. I don’t see good AJ happening unless via divine intervention.

          I simply think Moseley is a better choice Right NOW than AJ.

          • bexarama says:

            It’s definitely a “picking through the McDonald’s menu” thing but before AJ’s awful start against the Blue Jays – and he’s been bad against the Blue Jays all year – he’d been pretty solid in September, IIRC. In those starts, he’d definitely been capable of doing 6 IP, 4 ER. Better, actually, and he was actually missing bats too. I don’t think either should start unless it’s an emergency (or it’s the second round, as everyone’s fourth starters suck), but I can’t agree with this assertion.

            • Avi says:

              Just want to point out Brian Cashman was the one who signed the guy we’re debating weather or not he’s better than DUSTIN MOSELEY!
              Where are the effective starters Cash?? You’ve been the GM for 13 years with an unlimited supply of money at your disposal.
              SOO FRIGIN FRUSTRATING!

              • pete says:

                I think you’re misusing the word “unlimited”. Considering the remainder of the roster, I would argue that Cash’s free money supply is actually very limited.

                What’s more, there aren’t that many FA pitchers every year, and the Yanks are ALWAYS at the back of the draft class. That means you have to go all-in on a guy like CC AND toss the dice on a guy like Burnett sometimes. Remember, AJ was very productive for the Yanks last year. He may be in decline mode, but is he already this bad? I’m not so sure.

              • Just want to point out Brian Cashman was the one who signed the guy we’re debating weather or not he’s better than DUSTIN MOSELEY!
                Where are the effective starters Cash?? You’ve been the GM for 13 years with an unlimited supply of money at your disposal.
                SOO FRIGIN FRUSTRATING!

                Batshit insane.

              • Where are the effective starters Cash??

                CC says hello. You can’t bash Cashman for AJ without recognizing CC. They did sign at nearly the same time after all.

            • Dustin Blowsley says:

              Except the Red Sox, who have 7 aces.

        • Ed says:

          If you go by Baseball Reference WAR, Moseley’s at +0.5 and Burnett at -0.1. If we were to assume Mosely’s performance would hold steady over the same number of IP as Burnett (big if, I know) you get a 1.4 WAR.

  14. Anthony Murillo says:

    I’d rather the Yankees take Burnett and Nova over a combination of Mosely/Gaudin/Mitre/Ring/Vazquez.

    Just don’t put Javy on the post-season roster. What possible reasoning is there to put him on the post-season roster? Such a shame because I thought he was going to be a tremendous addition to the starting rotation.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Mosely/Gaudin/Mitre/Ring all have something in common:

      They aren’t even has beens, they qualify under never was.

      Vazquez is done. His velocity and control seemingly have fallen off the table.

      At least Burnett and Nova have velocity.

      • Anthony Murillo says:

        I know I could possibly be flammed for this but here it goes…

        I’m not willing to give up on AJ Burnett. I understand that he had an awful, awful, awful (x100) 2010 season. But we’ve all seen how well he can pitch if he’s focused. We’ve seen him win big games like Game 2 of the World Series last season or even going toe to toe with Beckett in that epic 15 inning battle at the Stadium last season. I think he’ll somewhat rebound in 2011 but if he doesn’t…damn, it’ll have to go down as a terrible contract.

        • Avi says:

          He’s not that pitcher anymore. His velocity is significantly down from last year. His K’s are way down. Almost every other stat that’s indicative of effectiveness is down as well.

          • Tom Zig says:

            Nah the average velocity is only down 1-2 MPH. He also has had trouble repeating his delivery. I bet if he is able to repeat the correct delivery the velocity would perk up a bit.

            • mbonzo says:

              He sometimes confuses delivering pitches and delivering pies.

              I 100% agree with you guys though. If Joe only chooses 1 long reliever (I am inclined to think so in the short series), I think its narrowed down to Nova, Burnett, and Gaudin. My choice would be Mitre, but I have a feeling he might have slept with Girardi’s wife considering he basically had less IP than Swisher since he’s been signed. Gaudin probably stuck up for Girardi, which is why he seems to pitch at every important time. I still don’t think Girardi is stupid enough to take Gaudin, which leaves us with Nova and Burnett. Nova has been awesome when he faces lineups 2 or less times, like Gaby Sanchez clothesline awesome. Still, he’s young, and his limited numbers against major league batters might be fooling us. Burnett has been awful, but he has also been amazing, he’s a coin flip. If heads is bad AJ and tails is good AJ, I feel like we’ve just flipped 9 heads…so what are the chances of flipping heads 10 times in a row? Its the due system, he’s bound to be good sometime.

              …Unless it was Burnett’s wife that Mitre slept with.

        • Tom Zig says:

          I’m in the same boat as you on this one. I was a big proponent of signing AJ. I still hold out hope that one day, something will click.

          • Avi says:

            “I was a big proponent of signing AJ”

            I give you credit for admitting that. Does it make you question your judgment as to who the right players are to bring in?

            “I still hold out hope that one day, something will click.”
            You do realize He’ll be 34 this January..
            The only thing that might click at this point is his elbow (for a second time)

            • pete says:

              That’s not true. Guys with his build and his “easy” delivery can often succeed late into their careers. Nobody’s saying they expect AJ to suddenly turn into Casey Kelly or Cy Young or something like that, but it’s not that absurd to hold out hope that he’ll again approach his 2009 levels and he ought to improve upon his 2010 #s regardless.

        • Kiersten says:

          Well, good thing you’re not ready to give up on him, cause he’s a Yankee for three more years.

        • sevrox says:

          As a .500 pitcher, it was a terrible contract from the start. Yanks got him due to his success against them and Boston – how has he fared against Boston the past 2 years. Kick him to the curb.

          /american history x’d/

  15. BigBlueAL says:

    Didnt you watch MLBN tonight? I kid you not Harold Reynolds actually said that AJ Burnett is the key to the series! He said he has a feeling he will start Game 2 or 3.

    • mbonzo says:

      I’m thinking they should use AJ in the ALCS, and if he pitches well, that’ll be huge. I’d need to see the schedule though, and the other team.
      BTW he has some interesting numbers vs. the opponents.

      Twins 3.22 ERA in 50.1 IP
      Texas 3.66 ERA in 71.1 IP
      AND HOLY SHIT!
      Tampa 3.15 ERA in 168.1 IP

      He has a 12-7 record in 25 starts. Those are incredible. (1-3 in 2010 though)

  16. I think AJ needs to suit up for the ALDS in case Andy’s groin suddenly grabs again and we need 5 or 6 innings. Like it or not, he’s by far our most experienced available long man with the best stuff.

    I look at it this way. If the worst happens and he’s thrust into a high-leverage situation, there are only two possible outcomes: He rises to the occasion or he implodes.

    If it’s the former, it’s an earthshaking development that completely screws every other team’s scouting report and rotation planning going forward in the post-season. And if it’s the latter, after all, it’s just one game. Joe G would then simply write him off for the remainder of the series and post-season and could go with any of the other options found in the fine comments above.

    There’s also this subtle but potentially delicious additional factor to consider: Given AJ’s recent history and track record, all scouting reports on him have been rendered meaningless. He can blow hot and cold from pitch to pitch and batter to batter. So in the unfortunate event a long reliever does suddenly become necessary, I have to believe it is at least conceivable it would be the opposing batters and not AJ who would be feeling the most heat if he were pressed into duty.

    Think about it from the batters’ standpoint. The Yankee starter has just been knocked out early and my guys in the dugout are feeling reeeeeally good about tapping into that pool of unremarkable pedestrian middle relief guys in the pinstripe pen….and then I look up and here comes the guy with the wildly unstable fastball, wildly unstable knuckle curve and wildly unstable melon — the craziest angriest man in pinstripes with absolutely nothing left to lose and an $85 million dollar chip on his shoulder he’s looking to fling at somebody.

    Just saying, if it were me on deck, I think I’d be wishing for Nova, Moseley or Gaudin right about then. It could be a sight to see.

    AJ is all ours, like it or not. If he goes in and fails spectacularly, shame on him. But to deny him the chance at all is wrong. AJ isn’t like Javy, who clearly has reached that inevitable final innings limit the Great Scorer In The Sky marks on the arm of every pitcher in his mother’s womb. AJ’s arm still has crazy stuff to offer. He just needs to get his melon right. And crazy as it sounds, I honestly believe a pressure situation on the post-season stage might just be the place his kind of crazy could surprise everyone.

    It could be a sight to see.

    • RobC says:

      good points
      have to agree with you

    • pete says:

      “He just needs to get his melon right.”

      ugh

      In some sense, though, I agree with your points. If I’m the twins and I’ve already knocked out Pettitte, I’d be happy to face Nova or Mosely. I may not shit my pants at the idea of AJ, but I’d much rather face the other two.

    • Yank the Frank says:

      I agree. I’d be willing to roll the dice on long relief with AJ. It’s no worse than our other options. If you are bringing in AJ the game may be decided anyway. He may actually pitch better when he doesn’t know if he is going to pitch. Sigh.

    • RCK says:

      Yes, yes, and yes! If an emergency long-relief situation arises and my options are Gaudin, Mitre, Mosely, Nova, or Burnett, I’ll take Burnett. I’m shocked that there are so many people who feel differently.

      Also, I have to agree with everyone who says that if AJ gets left home for the ALDS it will destroy what little is left of his self-confidence, and I’m hoping that the Yankees will make the ALCS and need that fourth starter!

  17. Jerome S says:

    Would the Yankees stick AJ in the rotation because of his resume and payroll even though he’s been only our fourth or fifth best starter this year? That’s not feasible, right?

  18. larryf says:

    Agree with the AJ on the roster folks. I am nervous that Andy could re-injure and he has been hit hard in 2 out of 3 starts since coming back. If we need a pitcher in the first 3 innings because of injury or bad outing, I think, all things considered, AJ is best.

  19. kosmo says:

    It would be an embarassment of riches if both Vasquez and AJ are left off the PR.I´m sure AJ will make the final cut .This could turn out well if AJ redeems himself in a long relief stint.
    Whenever I hear Ring´s name mentioned I think of a toilet.

  20. Mark says:

    Keep him on the roster as the long man, if Andy goes down/Phil gets beat up I’d rather have AJ in that spot than any of the other options. Totally off topic but does anyone know how Chien Ming Wang is progressing?

  21. pete says:

    I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that AJ’s left off the roster. The off chance that he navigates a lineup successfully in long relief or in an injured Pettitte’s stead is worth more than putting Ring on the roster just so he can give up a walk, long HR, and sharply hit line-drive-out to Jim Thome in 3 appearances.

    AJ and Ring are both dreck, but there’s at least a mild chance AJ does something useful. Any success Ring has will probably be the result of pure luck

  22. Mike HC says:

    I might be the last one left, but I would still go with a four man rotation for the ALDS. CC, Hughes, Pettitte, AJ, CC. I might be crazy, and am sure many fans are quite happy I’m not the one making the decisions, but I think AJ will get the job done if given the ball in the playoffs. I have no legit reason to fell this way, so I can understand all the disagreement.

  23. FWIW, Royce Ring has faced Thome four times in his career, all in 2005 when Ring was a Met and Thome a Phillie.

    2 six-pitch walks, 2 Ks (one looking, one swinging). What does that mean? I have no idea.

  24. Why is it either-or with Nova/Ring/Burnett?

    11-man ALDS pitching staff:

    SP (3) CC, Pettitte, Hughes
    RP (8) Mo, Joba, Wood, Robertson, Logan, Ring, Nova, Burnett

    There you go.

    Sorry, Chad Gaudin.

  25. theyankeewarrior says:

    I’d take AJ over any of the long men, and I think it’s a no-brainer too.

    No one has any idea what these guys (Gaudin, Mitre, AJ, Nova, Ring) will do out on the mound. None. So I’m going to go with the guy with the best arm, the most experience, and the most upside. I’ll take AJ over any of the “Nova-Rings”.

  26. Sal says:

    I’d put Burnett on the roster, and I’d pitch him in game two or three. Hughes could be a beast coming out of the pen. I’m not sure if there was a viable lefty out there besides Downs and Toronto knew it so they over priced him at the deadline. NY/Cashman already made too many moves that might come back to bite them this post season and the 28-28 August/September run proves that. Not having two viable lefties, and waiting on Marte was short sighted. I’ve been saying that for 2 months. With the way Girardi runs his one and done match-ups Cashman needed to give him something more than Logan to work with. Lets face it Logan was a throw in so Cashman lucked into that move, keep Burnett in the rotation, stats mean nothing with this guy he’s day to day no matter what, just hope it’s a good day when he pitches game two or three.

    • I’d put Burnett on the roster, and I’d pitch him in game two or three. Hughes could be a beast coming out of the pen.

      We already have several beasts coming out of the pen. What we need is a beast starting Game 3; Hughes is much more likely than Burnett to provide that.

      • first time lawng time says:

        Would you rather have Hughes start Game 2 or 3? The only reason I’m asking is because of how homer-prone he is at home.

      • Sal says:

        Burnett can be a beast in the rotation, if you get the A game Burnett, and no matter where you place him he’s a crap shoot. Hughes has a higher ERA at home than on the road, plus he’s coughed up 20 of his 25 HR’s in YS not to mention his 7-6 2nd half record doesn’t make him any better than Burnett as a viable option. What are you doing with Burnett if you don’t start him ? Banking on he’ll be professional enough to give you 1 or 2 shut down innings out of the pen? Again the way Girardi plays his match-up game you’ll need more than what you already have coming out of the bully, plus you can’t count on Pettitte giving you 7 strong innings, in fact you might not be able to get 6 strong out of him. Hughes would be a good insurance plan to back up both Pettitte or Burnett

        • not to mention his 7-6 2nd half record doesn’t make him any better than Burnett as a viable option.

          Hughes, second half: 7-6, 4.90 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
          Burnett, second half: 3-8, 5.95 ERA, 1.56 WHIP

          That’s probably the worst possible argument you could have picked.

          What are you doing with Burnett if you don’t start him?

          Leave him at the end of the bullpen behind a pane of “Break in case of emergency” glass.

          Again the way Girardi plays his match-up game you’ll need more than what you already have coming out of the bully

          Which is why Burnett would be the 8th member of the bullpen, and Joe would have a full complement of 7 other relievers to mix and match with.

          plus you can’t count on Pettitte giving you 7 strong innings, in fact you might not be able to get 6 strong out of him.

          Which is why you’d want an insurance policy, which we both agree on; this adds nothing to your argument.

          Hughes would be a good insurance plan to back up both Pettitte or Burnett

          And Burnett would also be a good insurance plan to back up both Pettitte and Hughes. Again, this adds nothing to your argument. Neither of us are debating the wisdom of having all three starters on the roster.

  27. AndrewYF says:

    Why don’t all teams just use 3 starters? Are Liriano and Price really that delicate that they can’t go on three days’ rest a few times in the most important games of the year?

    • Hughesus Christo says:

      What’s the point of being someone back on 3 days rest if they’re going to suck because of it? CC is special asset.

  28. first time lawng time says:

    I may be alone on this one, but I think we’re going to need A.J. in case Pettitte either gets injured or knocked around, or if Hughes has a meltdown.

    I personally believe a lot of A.J’s issues comes down to confidence. I am being 100 percent serious when I say this: I strongly believe that if AJ would just focus and breathe and relax more when he’s on the mound he wouldn’t be as wild. If he would just focus and relax with runners on base he probably wouldn’t have so many meltdowns.

    /positive vibes’d

    • Sal says:

      If he would just focus and relax with runners on base he probably wouldn’t have so many meltdowns.

      If a leopard could change his spots he’d be a Tiger. I doubt he’ll change, but if he’s got his 2 pitches working it might give him the confidence he needs to keep NY in it until the last 6 outs.

  29. Tank Foster says:

    I’ve never been a fan of carrying a lefty reliever just because he was a lefty reliever, I’d rather take the X best pitchers regardless of handedness…

    Yes.

    The LOOGY/situational lefty thing is, overall, overrated. If you have a good lefty, it’s obviously great. A mediocre or poor lefty? I’d rather have a good right handed pitcher with command and velocity against Thome than a AAA-caliber guy like Royce Ring. Then again, the Yankees list of good-righty-relievers-with-command-and- velocity is, admittedly, short.

    If anything, Burnett has to be considered an upgrade over a journeyman lefty, and it would allow them to “extend” or leverage their use of Robertson/Joba/Logan.

    • first time lawng time says:

      Also, in regards to the “extra lefty” debate, I’m pretty sure that righties hit Robertson better than lefties. Ironic.

    • The LOOGY/situational lefty thing is, overall, overrated. If you have a good lefty, it’s obviously great. A mediocre or poor lefty? I’d rather have a good right handed pitcher with command and velocity against Thome than a AAA-caliber guy like Royce Ring.

      The counterargument is that many lefty batters struggle against ANY lefty pitcher, whether that pitcher is good or mediocre or poor. The simple handedness alone is enough to flummox them, especially if said lefty has a funky arm angle.

      Ring, even if he’s a non-good pitcher, can probably retire some opposing lefty batters. Even if you respect Thome enough to not want Ring to ever face him, Ring could probably handle Jason Kubel with aplomb.

      • Tank Foster says:

        All batters struggle against lefty pitchers, actually, if you look at league-wide stats. Probably because lefties are less common than righties. The counterargument you offer is weak, I think. Large enough samples with pooled data on hundreds of batters and hundreds or pitchers show a definite platoon split I know, but the predictive value of the split as it applies to an outcome of an individual at bat is still weak. Betting on a large trend with your journeyman lefty against Jim Thome is much riskier than betting on a pitcher with much more established MLB experience and, likely, more experience against Thome. I think the platoon issue is one of a group of modern managerial curiosities I call (stolen from a friend) The LaRussa Fallacies.

  30. mike c says:

    at least the yankees could gamble on getting good AJ if their backs are up against the wall with a hughes meltdown or andy injury… the boston start wasn’t bad and we already know its either feast or famine with the guy anyway

  31. JerseyDutch says:

    I think they will keep AJ on the roster for no other reason than if (God forbid) one of the three other starters gets injured or sick, you have him to start. Despite AJ’s struggles, I just don’t see Girardi starting Nova or Moseley in the playoffs. I could be wrong.

  32. Sal says:

    When’s the last time Burnett came out of the pen to get one or two big outs? If you don’t start him your working with 8 pitchers, I don’t count the mop guy be it Moseley, Gaudin, Meat-Tray or Nova, one of those guys will be pitching in a blow out one way or the other. As far as I’m concerned send Vazquez home

  33. Sal says:

    outside of the first month of the season Burnett has stunk so you posting his second half stats means nothing. His A game is better than anybody elses, maybe the playoffs get him to focus and he brings it.

    And when did he come in say the 3rd or 4th inning of a game to prove he’s a viable candidate to pitch in that type of situation ?

    Burying him in the pen is carrying dead weight, plus you’ll lose him completely between the ears if you advance to the ALCS

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