Mailbag & Poll: Darvish vs. Pineda

(REUTERS/Darrell Byers)

Jesse asks: What are your thoughts on the theory that the reason Cashman did not go all in for Darvish is not because he didn’t like the idea of an imported pitcher, but because there were already rumblings of Pineda in pinstripes?

I’m not sure I buy that. Both Brian Cashman and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik have acknowledged that talks about the Jesus MonteroMichael Pineda trade started at the winter meetings, which was just about a week before Yu Darvish was officially posted. We all knew he was going to posted so it wasn’t some big surprise, it was just a matter of when. The Yankees most likely had made up their mind about whether or not to pursue him well in advance of the meetings and submitting their $15M bid. I can’t imagine it was a spur of the moment thing.

I don’t think their half-hearted attempt to acquire Darvish had to do with anything more than their questions about his ability to succeed in MLB, with a new ball, a new mound, smaller stadiums, better hitters, a five-day rotation, etc. If they had truly wanted him, Pineda wouldn’t have stopped them. Trade talks were still in the early stages back then and weren’t guaranteed to work out, so they could have gone down both paths and determined which was the better fit at a later time. Passing on Darvish because of Pineda could have easily resulted in them getting neither pitcher.

I’d much rather have Darvish and Montero than Pineda and [insert random DH here], but these things don’t happen in a vacuum. It would have taken over $100M to land Darvish, who isn’t a sure thing. Pineda isn’t either, but he’s also making the league minimum and has an above-average MLB season under his belt. Nine-figure Darvish and dirt cheap Montero for the next six years, or dirt cheap Pineda and say a $5M DH for the next five years? I was a big proponent of pursuing Darvish (not my money!) and there’s a lot more upside in option #1, but also substantially more risk because of the money involved. I can understand why the team went with door #2 even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. This calls for a poll…

{democracy:204}

Joba continues rehab program, throwing off half-mound

Via the AP, Joba Chamberlain has started throwing off a half-mound as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery. He’s been throwing off flat ground for a few weeks, but now he’s starting to get elevated. He’s right on schedule based on Mike Dodd’s classic TJS article, and should begin throwing breaking balls pretty soon. Joba figures to return to the team in mid-June, a year out from surgery.

Open Thread: Sweaty Freddy

I remember hating the move when it happening, but one year ago today the Yankees signed Freddy Garcia off the scrap heap. The deal worked out better than anyone could have expected, as Freddy gave the team 146.2 IP of 3.62 ERA and 4.12 FIP pitching. The ERA was about 14% better than league average, the FIP just about exactly league average. Sweaty Freddy helped the Yankees survive what was supposed to be a pitching disaster, and all it earned him was a chance to be the fifth starter this season. Guy gets no respect [/Dangerfield].

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Here is your open thread for the night. The Islanders, Knicks, and Nets are all playing tonight, but you folks know what to do here. Go nuts.

The Stefan Wever Story

Most of baseball’s one-hitter wonders were never good enough to last longer than that in the big leagues. Other were, but sometimes other things get in the way. That’s what happened to Stefan Wever, the Yankees’ top pitching prospect way back in the early-80s. Wever — a 6-foot-8 right-hander born in Germany but raised in New England and California — appeared in just one game for the Yankees, giving up nine runs to the Brewers in September of 1982. Injury got in the way of a promising career as The Post Game’s Tom Dinard explains, but that was only the start of his problems. Addiction and cancer also reared their ugly heads. Dinard’s piece is a long and sometimes arduous read, but a great story I wanted to share, so check it out. (h/t RetroRob)

Girardi: “I think it’s important to our club that you add another bat”

Joe Girardi was in Times Square for a charity event today, and wherever the Yankees manager goes, the media is sure to follow. “I think we’ve had a good offseason,” said the skipper to Erik Boland and Anthony McCarron, “but I think it’s important to our club that you add another bat. AL’s going to be tough … There have been a bunch of names that have been talked about, [but] because of our ballpark, it makes some sense that it would be a lefty.”

Girardi apparently mentioned Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui as players they’ve spoken about, but none of those three should be a surprise. Brian Cashman recently told Andrew Marchand they may still bring Eric Chavez back, and he could get some at-bat at DH. I’m sticking with my initial prediction: they’ll eventually sign Damon, probably right before position players report.

MiLB Interviews: Davis, Cote, Bichette, Austin

Joe and I are skipping out on the podcast this week because frankly, there’s nothing to talk about. The big news of the week was Billy Eppler’s promotion, and I said everything that needed to be said about that in this post. Rather than waste 20 minutes talking about nothing, I’ll point you towards these minor league interviews that I’ve been hording over the last few days and weeks…

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