Open Thread: Westbrook & Lilly


Photo Credits: Suzanne Plunkett (Westbrook) & John Froschauer (Lilly), AP

Right now, the Yankees have one veteran ace and about a dozen #4/5 type starters in their rotation mix, most of them young. Twelve years ago, it was the other way around. They had about four veteran aces and little depth, which is what they sought to acquire when they traded the late Hideki Irabu to the Expos. On this date in 1999, the Yankees sent Irabu to Montreal for prospects Jake Westbrook, Ted Lilly, and Christian Parker.

Parker never amounted to much, appearing in just one big league game in his career. That came in April 2001, when he gave up seven runs in three innings to the Blue Jays. He hurt his shoulder and didn’t pitch again that season, and he missed all of 2002 as well. He’s been out of baseball since 2005. Westbrook, then just 22, pitched in three games for the 2000 Yankees (ten runs in 6.2 IP) before being traded to the Indians as part of the package for David Justice at the deadline. He went on to have a long and successful career with the Tribe and now with the Cardinals, though Justice helped the Yankees to their third consecutive World Championship that season. Flags fly forever, as they say.

Lilly, 23 at the time of the trade, stuck around for a while. He made six relief appearances for the 2000 Yankees (six runs in eight innings), then made 21 starts and five relief appearances for the 2001 Yankees (5.37 ERA). The next season he was in the Opening Day bullpen, but eventually moved into the rotation. Lilly made eleven starts and five relief appearances for New York that year (3.40 ERA), then was traded to the Athletics as part of that four-team humdinger that brought Jeff Weaver to the Bronx. Like Westbrook, Lilly went on to have a long and successful career following the trade, bouncing from Oakland to the Blue Jays to the Cubs to the Dodgers. In 205.1 IP for the Yankees, he posted a 4.65 ERA.

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Here is tonight’s open thread. For those of you with the NFL Network or in the local markets, you can watch the Colts and Saints at 8:20pm ET. The Rangers are also playing the Islanders, which should be fun. Talk about that or anything else you like here, the thread is yours.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Brian S. says:

    Disclaimer: I am not the one that made this observation. A member of a different Yankees website made this observation and I am presenting it to you all.

    Pitcher A: 107 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.3 WHIP, 9.6 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 7.5 SO/9, 79.5% LOB%, 3.69 FIP
    Pitcher B: 131 IP, 3.98 ERA, 1.4 WHIP, 9.9 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9, 71.9% LOB%, 3.87 FIP

    Pitcher C: 158 IP, 3.40 ERA, 1.2 WHIP, 7.9 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, 72.3% LOB%, 3.83 FIP
    Pitcher D: 152 IP, 3.60 ERA, 1.3 WHIP, 8.6 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3.1 BB/9, 6.6 SO/9, 73.5% LOB%, 4.05 FIP

    Pitcher A is 24 year old David Phelps in AAA in 2011. Pitcher B is 24 year old Jeff Niemann in AAA in 2007.
    Pitcher C is 23 year old Wade Davis in AAA in 2009. Pitcher D is 23 year old Adam Warren in AAA in 2011.

    Two questions:Do you guys think that Warren and Phelps can have as much success as Davis and Niemann condiering Tampa has a better defense and a much more pitcher friendly ballpark? And does knowing that the two Yankee farmhands have pitched identically to the two major league Tampa pitchers make you more confident in the Yankees ability to field an adequate rotation in 2012?

  2. Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

    Didn’t Christian Parker win the #5 starter spot that year? I remember that, yet I don’t physically remember the one start he made.

  3. Pat D says:

    Parker was a Notre Dame graduate. I was still at Notre Dame when he debuted. It was a big deal for my best friend because he was the sports editor of the campus magazine. He got to go to the Stadium to do a big article about it, and he was able to interview both Joe Torre and Mike Mussina about Parker.

    He had both interviews on tape and played them for me. At first he said Torre blew him off, but Torre just didn’t recognize him, not being a regular guy, but he was very nice and answered all the questions as one would expect. According to my friend, Mike Mussina was an asshole. His impression was that Mussina resented being asked questions that were not about him. After my friend asked one question, there was literally a twenty second pause before Mussina answered him. My friend said that Mussina was staring at him the entire time, the kind of stare where daggers would shoot from his eyes if they could. So there’s that.

  4. Manimal says:

    I have to ask… wtf is up with the Goldman Sachs BS all over RAB?

  5. CJ says:

    Westbrook and Lilly were two examples of how bad a prospect can look in NY. They got pounded by AL hitters and then pounded by the media. Ian Kennedy is another example. I really liked him as a Yankee prospect but the pressure was going to literally kill him in NY before he would ever get a chance to be a 20 game winner.

    • CJ says:

      And I’m not one these they “can’t make it in new York” guys. NY is too much some times and these guys are lucky they got a chance somewhere else. Some of these media guys seem to get off on it like they’re bad ass mothers. Michael Kay and Joel Sherman.

  6. sevrox says:

    Question: do you think Yankees fans would have the patience to enable growing pains for any rookie pitchers they might want to ‘work in’? I think the ‘win now’ approach pre-empts any patience that might be required…

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • Need Pitching says:

      I think the problem is the lack of a strong front of the rotation after CC. If the Yankees had a very strong 1-3, it would be a lot easier to let kids work there way up in the 4/5 slots and endure some growing pains. Unfortunately, now most of the “veterans” in the Yankee staff (Garcia, Hughes, AJ) are back end starters, so it would be much more difficult to let kids take their lumps and still be a playoff team.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      You can’t paint all Yankee fans with the same brush. My assumption is that most Yankee fans are reasonable baseball fans with patience, but that the ones that can sometimes be the most vocal are the ones to feel the most entitled to expect an invincible team at all times.

      • CJ says:

        Not the fans, I blame the media, they build up the expectations and grill them for growing pains. Starts a vicious cycle, trying harder only makes it worse.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Nova was worked in just last season… Hughes (not a rookie) the season before.

  7. CJ says:

    Yanks rookies seems to have a better shot if they are under the radar as opposed to long awaited prospects with untrainable expectations. Robertson nova vs Hughes joba
    Even Robinson cano, I know people will argue that he was a top prospect he was never expected to perform anywhere close to this when he was in the minors. To put it another way, cano was not in montero’s position.

  8. CJ says:

    Cards sign Beltran 2/25.

  9. Billion$Bullpen says:

    I hate Jeff Weaver. A whole lot.

  10. Jesse says:

    As a Colts fan I just want this season to be over with so they can draft Andrew Luck.

  11. CJ says:

    Beltran at 2/26 would not have been a reasonable replacement if the moved swisher

    • Dave203 says:

      Last year was the first time in the past 3 yrs that Beltran played more than half a season. It was only 2 yrs, but still, there is significant risk he will get hurt in those 2 yrs. Unless we got a useful piece for Swisher, it would make no sense to take on that risk.

  12. Jesse says:

    Cubs sign Manny Corpas. There goes that bargain bin deal.

  13. Jimmy McNulty says:

    So…Westbrook and Lilly are probably the best case scenario for Warren/Phelps, right?

    • Brian S. says:

      Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis are the best comps for Warren/Phelps.

      • radnom says:

        Based on a rudimentary comparison of their AAA performance? Seems a bit presumptuous to assign a comp when that is a poor indicator of a prospect’s potential. Sure you want a guy to perform well in the minors – but there is so much more to evaluating prospects than single-season minor league numbers.

        • Bo Knows says:

          Phelps and Warren have very good career numbers, that do suggest they could be solid to good back end rotation starters.

          • Ghost says:

            I think you missed the point in that numbers only tell part of the story. Warren is probably projects as a Middle reliever for the team as he has an above average fastball and below average offspeed stuff. Its not a case where he doesn’t have that third feature pitch that you’d like to see for starters, he doesn’t even have a go to out pitch. And unless that changes rather soon, probably won’t fair well in the big show even at the back of the rotation.

            I think the Consensus is that Phelps is the better bet to stick in the back of the rotation.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Comparing someone to Wade Davis isn’t exactly high praise, though. He’d probably be a reliever on the Yankees and will probably be a reliever if he stick with TB this season. He’s hit 1 fWAR one of the past three years and his career ERA on the road is 5.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      If those two are the back of your rotation, you’re in good shape.

      That being said, I have no clue what the best case scenario for them is. I’d love for one of them to step up and be a solid rotation option.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        If you have David Price and James Shield at the front of your rotation and them at the back you’re in good shape, but I think that has a lot more to do with Price and Shields.

        • Colts need to stop winning (formally Jesse) says:

          I’m sure Jumpin’ Jack is also assuming the fact that CC and Nova are in the front of your (Yankees) rotation with Phelps and Warren (who are basically Niemann and Davis in this case) are in the back, then you’re in good shape.

          • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

            Actually, I was referring to the Lilly and Westbrook projection, not the actual current living, breathing David Phelps and Adam Warren.

  14. Jimmy McNulty says:

    I hate that the Colts lucked into Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. I hope they win out so that they lose the number one overall pick.

    • Robert says:

      To be fair alot of team luck into Qbs.SD lucked into Rivers and Vick.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        Rivers and Brees really, Vick kinda sucks the trade really helped them more than anything. Considering how they played the Eli/Vick trades I’d say they’re more good than lucky. San Diego doesn’t get butthurt and change the rules whenever their team loses though, you know the new pass interference rules? Totally Polian.

        • Colts need to stop winning (formally Jesse) says:

          Quit crying. The rules were the same before and after Polian complained after the 2004 AFC Title Game. Besides, Polian has a right to be pissed after the non-calls especially the blatant hold on Marcus Pollard on a fourth down play to seal the game.

  15. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Well now three teams in the AFC have a first round bye, oddly enough one of them is a Wild Card winner.

  16. ADam says:

    The Ted Lilly trade was another Randy Levine spearheaded move and one of the worst moves in the last decade of this franchise. Cashman is not perfect but man, this team would be so much better if Levine stayed out of Baseball Ops

    • Plank says:

      The Ted Lilly trade was absolutely a Cashman trade.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      Meh. Nothing to get up in arms about at the time. Easy in retrospect to criticize.

      • RetroRob says:

        Totally. At the time, I thought Cashman picking up Jeff Weaver, a groundballer who was all of 25 and a solid pitcher, was a great move. Cash followed that up after the season by acquiring one of the best young pitchers in the game with even more ability in Javy Vazquez, and added in Kevin Brown, who was still pitching at the top of his game.

        None of the moves worked, yet at the time they were excellent transactions, seemingly reloading the Yankee rotation.

        Baseball is a tough game to figure at times.

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