ST Game Thread: A last look at Sergio?


(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

As the fourth and fifth starter competition rolls along, it’s tough to see how exactly Sergio Mitre fits into this whole equation. Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon have shown enough in camp that they should at least be given chances in the regular season, and for whatever reason we keep giving Freddy Garcia the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that lat part is just me.

Anyway, we’ve already talked about the possibility of releasing Mitre, and even though it doesn’t make sense to me, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Sergio’s on the hill today, and I suppose it could be the last time he ever pitches in the Yankees uniform. Here’s the lineup…

Curtis Granderson, CFMelky Mesa, CF …  Grandy’s hurt
Nick Swisher, DH
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Andruw Jones, RF
Jesus Montero, C
Greg Golson, LF
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Ronnie Belliard, 2B
Brandon Laird, 3B

Available Pitchers: Sergio Mitre, Joba Chamberlain, Mark Prior, Romulo Sanchez, Luis Ayala, Ryan Pope, Steve Garrison, George Kontos, and Wilkins Arias.

Available Position Players: Gustavo Molina (C), Jose Gil (1B), Ramiro Pena (2B), Doug Bernier (SS), Kevin Russo (3B), Justin Maxwell (LF), Melky Mesa (CF), and Jordan Parraz (RF).

I should probably also mention that Joba will be appearing in his first game since suffering that oblique injury. This Grapefruit League game against the Orioles is being broadcast live on both YES and ESPN at 1:05pm ET. Enjoy.

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    online anywhere?

  • Drew

    Mekly 2.0 is starting in CF instead

    • Drew

      wait you just got that too. MLB At Bat 2011 app?

  • theyankeewarrior

    What the fuck is with the oblique injuries?

    • ROBTEN

      This year’s freak obliques is obliquely bleak.

  • A.D.

    If Grady were to miss the beginning of the season, then presumably Andruw Jones out there everyday with Golson or whomever backing up?

    • Gonzo

      Gardner to CF then Jones to LF? Golson to the bench?

  • Mykey

    This game may not be too much fun. Sergio’s rough to watch. And on principle I would hate to lose to the Orioles. Spring training or not, it’s just a pride thing.

  • Nogomo

    I am watching the game right now on MLB. The fans weren’t even settled in their seats yet and Mitre’s already given up a run. He had the leadoff guy down 0-2 with some nice inside pitches, but then threw a meatball right over the plate to give up a single. Then Markakis jumps on the first pitch, another meatball over the plate, for another single. Mitre recovered to keep it to one run but not before reminding me vividly why his presence on the mound is terrifying. Let’s remember, this is the Orioles in spring training.

    I. Don’t. Want. To. See. Mitre. On. A. Mound. In. Pinstripes.


    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I mean, I get why people don’t like Mitre – I’m certainly not a big fan. But it’s like 2010 never happened sometimes. I’m not saying he’s anything special, but good grief, the Yankees could certainly do worse than having a guy like Sergio Mitre as a swing-man out of the ‘pen. The Mitre-backlash has gone way too far, I don’t think people are even familiar with his numbers/recent history when they say stuff like this.

      • RL

        He’s got his place. I think we’ve seen through ST that Nova and Colon look the best right now. so, is Mitre the better long/swing-man or is Garcia? Colon will break down or become ineffective at some point. Guess par of the decision depends on if you think he’ll make it close enough to the trading deadline.

      • ROBTEN

        For anyone expecting a radically different result, it seems to me that Mitre, Garcia, Colon are virtually the same pitcher.

        Garcia: 4.24 (FIP)/4.17 (xFIP)/K9 6.48/BB9 2.85
        Mitre: 4.72 (FIP)/4.28 (xFIP)/K9 5.38/BB9 2.96
        Colon: 4.22 (FIP)/4.25 (xFIP)/K9 6.96/BB9 3.08

        and SSS be damned:

        Nova 4.36 (FIP)/4.49 (xFIP)/K9 5.57/BB9 3.64

        Now you can argue that perhaps Nova will improve, especially with the new pitch, but for the other three what is the basis for the Mitre hate except for the fact that he’s the devil we know?

        • Nogomo

          I’m totally aware of the numbers that are supposed to prove Mitre is better than people think, and I gotta throw in here I am not a “Mitre-hater,” I used to like him and think he had great potential. But again numbers don’t tell all. He is missing something crucial. I think he is not very smart.

          • bexarama

            I think he is not very smart.

            That’s kind of irrelevant to how well he can pitch.

        • Urban

          You may want to start looking at overall stats, including Mitre’s 400 career innings pitched in eight seasons. From a a career perspective, he’s simply not in Colon or Garcia’s class. Now is it possible in 2011 he might be roughly as good? Sure, especially considering Colon and Garcia are no longer what they used to be. Then again, Mitre is a “never was.”

          I’d like to keep Mitre around, but not exactly going to feel too bad if he gets cut. I’d rather have had Aceves around for the long-man role.

        • Ted Nelson

          “what is the basis for the Mitre hate except for the fact that he’s the devil we know?”

          That those innings came mostly in relief in very low leverage situations. Check out his stats as a starter outside of 2007.

      • Nogomo

        Dude, watch him pitch. Stop judging everything by numbers! Numbers don’t tell the whole story. Tune into this game, he just balked in a run!

        • ROBTEN

          You’re right. I shouldn’t think about the probable value and projected performance of a pitcher based upon what they have done over the course of their careers, but instead make decisions based upon what I see in one inning in one game.

          Snark aside, I didn’t say that Mitre is necessarily above average, just that anyone who expects either Colon or Garcia to be anything more than a fifth starter who will probably put up the same numbers as Mitre if their relative performances were extended over the course of an entire season will most likely end up disappointed.

          People can hate Mitre all you want, but they shouldn’t be surprised if Garcia’s or Colon’s performance is not radically different (good some innings, mediocre more innings, terrible other innings). Of course, it is Spring, a time when hope springs eternal and the devil you don’t know is always better than the one you do…

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          a) This comment is ridiculous. I’m not “judging everything by numbers” (which are, I remind you, just an objective measure of performance) nor have I not watched him pitch.

          b) I’m clearly not talking about the guy being a starter for the Yanks for the entire 2011 season nor am I overrating him. To quote myself: “I’m not saying he’s anything special, but good grief, the Yankees could certainly do worse than having a guy like Sergio Mitre as a swing-man out of the ‘pen.” Would you take a guy who can give you ‘pen and maybe spot-start innings with an ERA somewhere in the high 3′s to 4′s? That’s probably Sergio Mitre, 2011.

          All I’m saying is that the guy’s not “terrifying” nor is he someone about whom I think it’s reasonable to say “I. Don’t. Want. To. See. Mitre. On. A. Mound. In. Pinstripes. Ever.” You’re overreacting and getting carried away.

  • Gonzo

    Anyone else think of South Park when you see the name Garrison?

  • A-ROD fan

    Vote for colon and nova

    • RL

      Those are easy. Mitre or Garcia?

      • Nogomo

        I’d have to go with Garcia but agreed, that’s a much tougher call. Both could come outta the pen.

      • Ted Nelson

        Garcia. I can’t understand why people put so much weight on ST when Garcia has been a much better starting pitcher in real MLB games for the past 1.25 years. There’s only been one season in his career where Mitre was really above replacement level. The Yankees loved Mitre so much last season that they started Moseley and Javy over him… despite all that mess Mitre got 3 starts in 2010 and bombed in them.

        • JZ

          Even taking into account that Garcia is notorious for sucking during ST, the fact his fastball has been settling in the mid-80s is a point of real concern. He has been in decline for several years straight now and he’s going to reach a point when his stuff just won’t work in the American League. My fear is this is the year that happens. Mitre is nothing special. But he’s still young and while he may not improve, I don’t think he’s going to get much worse this season.

          • Ted Nelson

            I can see your logic, but I don’t buy it.

            “He has been in decline for several years straight now”

            I just don’t think that’s true. He got hurt in 2007, and only pitched another 15 MLB innings from there till he finally made it back for good in August 2009. He only threw 89 even in 2006 before the injury, and I have no idea what his ST velocity was.

            “he’s going to reach a point when his stuff just won’t work in the American League”

            I don’t think that has much to do with velocity. AJ still throws an average of 93.2 MPH and that doesn’t work in the AL. Wakefield throws 73 and it works as well as AJ’s stuff.

            “But he’s still young and while he may not improve, I don’t think he’s going to get much worse this season.”

            But where he’s at is replacement level or probably below. He was just awful in 12 starts across 2009 and 2010. Not that he wasn’t good, he was TERRIBLE. The Yankees didn’t trust him to start over Moseley, Javy, Burnett, or later Nova. I think they can easily replace him from AAA, the waiver wire, or a trade giving up a non-prospect.

            While Garcia has some downside, he also has way more upside than Mitre. He’s been a good starter for 1.25 seasons, while Mitre hasn’t been since 2007… the only instance he was actually a good starter.

            • NJYankeeFan

              Mitre is just horrible. He has about 3.0 WAR for his entire career and 2.6 came in 2007, his only decent season in the majors.
              He’s on the wrong side of 30 so there’s no more upside there.
              Mitre should be VERY easy to replace and I’d much rather keep Garcia and Colon around.

    • Tom Zig

      Colon and Garcia. Safer bet. Under your scenario: what happens if Colon or Nova or both start sucking terribly? Who do you replace them with?

      At least if you go with Colon and Garcia you can replace one with Nova.

      • Steve H

        And what if Hughes or Burnett get injured?

        • RL

          That’s why you start Nova in AAA. You get to keep all 4 pitchers. If you need more than that, you’ve got others in AAA ball to bring up (and your season is probably in trouble!).

          • Steve H

            Agree. I was just adding on to Tom’s point. It’s not only if Colon or Nova suck, it’s also if one of the other 3 guys gets hurt. Nobody had a rotation with 5 guys throwing 30 starts, they need the depth.

            • RL


      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t think Mitre is that important to keep around. He’s been replacement level or below pretty much his whole career, so I don’t see a ton of value in keeping him… depending on what you think of the AAA starters.

        I can see the argument for letting Nova warm up in AAA, but at the same time I think people overrate the stretched out thing. Guys can stay fairly stretched out in the bullpen. You see long-men make spot starts and transition to the rotation all the time.

  • Steve H

    While I wouldn’t use Quality Starts to compare pitchers, anytime a #4 or #5 guy gives you a quality start, you have a chance to win. On a team with the Yankees offense and bullpen, you’ll win a ton of games where you get a quality start. Garcia had 18 last year (24th in the AL) and was at 64% QS percentage (16th in the AL). I don’t know if Mitre has 18 quality starts in his career.

    That’s why I give him the benefit of the doubt over Mitre. I still want to keep Mitre around, but I’d rather have Garcia.

    • Ted Nelson

      You don’t even have to look at QSs… Take FIP. Garcia out FIP’d Burnett last season. He was .47 behind Hughes and .35 behind Nova. In 2009 Mitre FIP’d 5.19 with a 7.16 ERA in 9 starts, while in 2010 he FIP’d 5.86 with a 5.93 ERA in 3 starts. Mitre’s had one good season in his career, and when it’s sandwiched by 2 awful seasons on both sides… it looks like a fluke. 1 in 5 seasons he’s been good.

  • mike_h

    wtf Montero strikeout, he’s been sucking this spring

    • Jorge

      This is his worst spring since….oh, wait…..

    • Jess

      Yeah, he’ll never amount to anything.

      • Tom Zig

        I know. What a waste. We should trade him for Jeff Suppan before his value gets any lower.

  • Jorge

    Colon still worries me, but Garcia’s throwing beach balls up there. The team should carry the best players with them. Nova and flip a coin.

    • Nogomo

      Colon is fat. He’s always gonna be an injury risk. But he has won the Spring sweepstakes fair and square.

  • theyankeewarrior

    If we DFA Mitre, are we guaranteed to lose him? Would he be a hot commodity on the market?

    Could we trade him for an org player and roll with Phelps/Warrern/Noesi/Brackman as our depth?

    • Steve H

      I think they’d definitely lose Mitre if the DFA him.

      • Tom Zig

        I don’t like Mitre, but I’d stash Nova in AAA to keep him stretched out, and keep Mitre in the long man role. We need the depth.

    • Urban

      Mitre will be picked up if DFA’d.

  • mike_h

    ugh Mitre getting smacked around

  • mike_h

    who calls a spring training balk? geez

    • Sayid J.

      the same guys who call them in the regular season. rules don’t change.

  • Chip

    I think Mitre gets the DFA and they’ll try to get him to stay on in the minors. My theory is that Nova and Colon will likely be getting the 4th and 5th spots and Garcia is much more of a known starter so he’s the backup. That way, if one of them starts sucking, then you just switch them (or send Nova down). If two start sucking, then you still have Warren/Phelps/Noesi/Brackman/Igawa!!!(not serious) down in AAA to come up and be fodder for a bit.

    • fire levine

      Its not up to him to stay in the minors. If he gets DFA’d he has to pass through waivers and you know someones gonna pick him up.

  • Cult of Basebaal

    Has that ball landed yet?

  • Urban

    …and as the ball leaves the park, somewhere Freddy Garcia smiles.

  • Ryan

    Is Montero Wieters the biggest set of catchers in the bigs? They look huge standing next to each other

  • Adam

    Umm…hasn’t the press also crowned the Sawks the team to beat?

  • Tank the Frank

    Was that a changeup from Jobber?

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Who knows but it looked nasty

  • Lucas Apostoleris

    What was Joba’s velocity like? The ESPN gun died.

  • Tom Zig


    • Yank the Frank

      That could be the stench of another Mitre proformance.
      We have been there and done that, time to move on, so long Sergio.

  • Ted Nelson

    “and for whatever reason we keep giving Freddy Garcia the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that lat part is just me.”

    Come on… this is really not a tough one. The biggest reason is that he pitched as well as the Yankees’ current #2 starter last season.

    1.3 WAR 157 IP 4.64 ERA 4.77 FIP
    1.3 WAR 186.2 IP 5.26 ERA 4.83 FIP
    Which one is the #2 starter and which is the #5/6?
    1.6 WAR 56 IP 4.34 ERA 3.35 FIP
    3.4 WAR 207 IP 4.04 ERA 4.33 FIP
    And it wasn’t just 2010. Since finally returning from injury for good Garcia has been as good as Burnett.

    Asides from that there’s spring training being 99% meaningless. There’s also Colon not having pitched well for an extended period since 2005 and Nova never having pitched well for an extended period at the MLB level in his life.

    It’s a joke to pretend like you don’t see all that. Of course, I forgot that velocity and strike outs are the only important things for MLB pitchers according to Mike Axisa… how silly of me… let’s make a rule of always valuing proxies over outcomes.

    • Ted Nelson

      “Anyway, we’ve already talked about the possibility of releasing Mitre, and even though it doesn’t make sense to me, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.”

      Why are you keeping Mitre? and who are you losing instead?

    • Chip

      Velocity and strike outs are a very good indication of how well somebody is going to do in the majors. That’s why a guy like Brackman who’s results haven’t quite matched the stuff yet has a lot of prospect hype when a guy like Phelps is seen as a middle of the rotation type. They just have more room for error.

      Also, what happens if Garcia goes through a dead arm period and starts throwing in the mid 80′s? At least Colon can lose a few ticks and still have both decent velocity and good movement.

      • Ted Nelson

        Again, they are proxies. That’s the point I made.

        I would disagree that velocity is a good proxy anyway, though. You’re not going to have many righties make it who don’t throw 90, for example, but you’ll have plenty of guys burn out in A-ball who throw 95.

        Who cares if he’s throwing mid-80s? He threw an average of 89 last season. Maddux averaged mid-80s from at least 2002 on (that’s all they have on fangraphs… but I bet it wasn’t much higher before that), and accumulated 24.5 WAR over that time. Mussina never averaged 90 MPH from 2002 on (2nd season with the Yankees). 31.3 WAR from 2002-2008. Pedro didn’t average 90 from 2003 on. Jamie Moyer is a lefty, but has thrown LOW 80s since at least 2002. I just don’t think velocity is a good proxy.

        I’m not expecting Garcia to become as good as those guys and be a 5 WAR pitcher with an 88 MPH FB… but all we’re looking for in a #4/5 starter and he was that last season with a below-90 FB.

        • Ted Nelson

          Garcia averaged 88 with the FB last season, actually, not 89. My fault.

          In 2006 when he was a 3.5 WAR pitcher for the White Sox over 216 innings he only averaged 89 MPH. So it’s very questionable to act like velocity is the biggest thing he’s lost since shoulder surgery.

    • bexarama

      Of course, I forgot that velocity and strike outs are the only important things for MLB pitchers according to Mike Axisa

      Not that I don’t disagree with most of what you say but wow, huge strawman. Not at all true. And before I get accused of being a cheerleader, it’s unfair to attack anyone like that.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t think that’s a personal attack or unfair at all… Mike is on record saying he thinks FIP is the way to evaluate pitchers (and I think it’s a good way too as a general rule… though I think it’s dangerous to just ignore every single ball put in play in some individual cases) and is always pointing to velocity when discussing pitchers as an important proxy. I disagree that velocity is a particularly good proxy to use to determine how effective a pitcher will be at the MLB level. Garcia was throwing 1 MPH faster when he was still a 3.5 WAR pitcher… but, yeah, it’s all about velocity.

        “Not that I don’t disagree with most of what you say”

        So you disagree that Freddy Garcia pitched as well as AJ Burnett last season?
        You think ST is very meaningful?
        You think Colon has pitched well for extended periods since 2005 and Nova has even had an extended period in his big league career of 7 starts?
        Interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing.

        • bexarama

          Well I think FIP is a way to evaluate pitchers, not gospel, but FIP isn’t just “yay strikeouts.” And some pitchers do need velocity, or at least are less effective without it, just Garcia isn’t necessarily one of them. Also I seriously doubt it’s the only thing Mike considers. Pretty sure he’s not going to smack Wang* in his heyday because he never really struck anyone out.

          Errr I meant “not that I don’t agree with most of what you say.” Really stupid brain fart/mistyping on my part, feel free to make fun of me for this for months.

          * This wasn’t on purpose I swear, but I realized it after the fact and decided to keep it so there

          • Ted Nelson

            Fair enough.

        •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

          And can you link to anybody saying “It’s all fucking about velocity!”

          • Ted Nelson

            The velocity thing is a bit of a stretch I made because I don’t really see why Mitre gets the benefit of the doubt over a guy who has out-pitched him all but 1 season in their lives.

            I do think people tend to rely too much on velocity, though. People often as like a 1 MPH difference in FB velocity is the difference between very effective pitching and terrible pitching (like AJ Burnett). Not that Mike specifically does that, but commenters here do it all the time.

      • Ted Nelson

        You also cut off the conclusion I drew based on the sentence you quote… which is that proxies are a means to an end and not an end in and of themselves.

        • bexarama

          Well my point there was that you put words in his mouth.

          • Ted Nelson

            As I explain below, I don’t think I did.

      • NJYankeeFan

        What’s wrong with being a cheerleader? There are definitely worse things you can be called.

    • Mike Axisa

      Thanks for putting words in my mouth.

      • Ted Nelson

        Which words?

        You said “for whatever reason we keep giving Freddy Garcia the benefit of the doubt.” That would imply that you don’t see or understand the reasons. Which are very obvious.
        This is an extreme example to illustrate my point… Why isn’t Nick Swisher in danger of losing his job? Because of his recent MLB performance. ST is not all that important. The same logic applies to Garcia, though obviously his performance wasn’t as good and he’s got relatively even competitors whereas Swisher doesn’t really.

        I recall you specifically saying that FIP is the best stat we’ve got for pitchers. My interpretation is that you use it in your articles not only as a means, but also an end. That’s not putting words into your mouth, though it might be interpreting and analyzing your words.

        The velocity thing might be more of a stretch, but you do use velocity as a proxy very regularly and question anyone without good velocity while praising a lot of guys for their velocity.
        I don’t know why you are so down on Garcia… but logically I figure it’s got to be either ST performance or velocity since his 2009-2010 MLB performance is so much better than Colon or Nova’s and even better than Burnett’s on a per inning basis.

        I also asked why keeping Mitre is a good idea and who you would lose instead, but haven’t heard back.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Good walk.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    So is Britton breaking camp with the Oriole’s?

    • Gonzo

      Good chance he needs to tune up until June or so. wink, wink, $$$

    • Jorge

      Anyone seen Jaret Wright lately?

      • Josh S.

        I think I saw him selling hot dogs outside of George M. Steinbrenner field.

        • Gonzo

          I enjoyed that.

  • Mister Delaware

    Perry Farrell is excited to see which direction the RABers go for the headline.

    • Booger

      Cash says
      I’m done with Sergio
      He pitches like a rag doll
      Cash says
      Time to DFA him
      Says I don’t owe him nothing,
      But if he clears waivers
      Tell him to wait right here for me
      He can pitch in AAA tomorrow
      He’s gonna pitch tomorrow
      Gonna pitch tomorrow

  • Josh S.

    There’s always the option that following the awful performance from Mitre today, the Yankees send him to the DL with an oblique strain when the season begins. Sure he may not be hurt, but they can always say he reaggravated it. I kind of want Mitre gone regardless, but this way, you don’t have to DFA him just yet. You can still bring Nova, Colon, and Garcia with the big league team and at least give them some extra time to evaluate the situation. If and when Mitre comes back, then they have a decision to make. But at least it buys them some time without having to release anyone.

  • Ted Nelson

    Yeah. As I recall you did. I remember specifically commenting on that before and you specifically saying that it’s the best stat we’ve got.

    • Mike Axisa

      I went to fix a spelling error and deleted my comment by accident.

      I remember saying FIP is the best stat we have, but I’ve never said it’s the only way to evaluate pitchers.

      • Ted Nelson

        It was a bit of hyperbole… I just don’t see how you can ignore real MLB games in terms of Garcia vs. Colon vs. Nova. I’m not even saying that decides the competition, I’m just saying that decides the benefit of the doubt. Ricky Romero has been shelled this ST, but he gets the benefit of the doubt. Cole Hamels. Wandy. Felix. Etc. There are benefiting degrees of benefit and doubt there… but the principle that spring training is spring training still stands. If the Yankees watch Garcia repeat his 2010 elsewhere while getting a 2010 Javy/Moseley/Mitre performance out of one of their rotation spots… that won’t be fun. It’s not the difference between .500 and a strong playoff run, but it could mean playoffs vs. sitting at home… definitely.

  • Monteroisdinero

    After looking at the issue through the Colon-oscope, I say bye bye to Sergio.

    Enough already!