Sunday Night Open Thread

From the 2008 archives. I have no idea why Rick Porcello and Kei Igawa were in a photo together.

Here is your open thread for this chilly Sunday evening. The late NFL game is the Cowboys at the Falcons, but feel free to talk about anything here aside from politics. Thanks in advance.

Sanchez homers in winter ball debut

First, some notes…

  • OF Tyler Austin was named the minor league Breakout Prospect of the Year. He took home a whopping 18% of the vote while no one else topped even 11%. Congrats to him.
  • OF Slade Heathcott placed third in this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. They provide a mini-scouting report but could have stopped after this line: “Heathcott displays five-tool ability but has struggled to remain healthy.”
  • 1B Mark Teixeira was inducted into the AzFL Hall of Fame earlier this weekend, so congrats to him as well. He played in the desert way back in 2002.
  • Triple-A Scranton will officially announce the team’s new name on November 14th. Fans were able to vote for one of six name options earlier this year. Trolley Frogs or bust.

Second, updates from the Arizona Fall League…

AzFL Scottsdale (7-1 win over Peoria) Monday’s game
3B David Adams: 2-3, 1 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 E (throwing)
C Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 PB — third passed ball in 12 games
RHP Dan Burawa: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/FB — seven of 13 pitches were strikes (54%)

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Report: Kuroda deciding between Yankees and Japan for 2013

Via David Lennon: Hiroki Kuroda “has told friends” that he’ll pitch for either the Yankees or the Hiroshima Carp next season, but he hasn’t made a decision yet. New York did make the right-hander a qualifying offer, but they would not get draft pick compensation if he signed in Japan.

Kuroda, 37, spent eleven years with the Carp before coming over to MLB in 2008. He’s reportedly cool with signing another one-year deal in part because it affords him the flexibility to return to Japan at some point. These reports that cite “friends” are always sketchy though, so take this with a huge grain of salt. If Kuroda decides not to re-sign with the Yankees and instead returns to the Carp, it won’t be for money reasons. That much is certain.

Rothschild discusses lightening CC’s workload

(Patrick McDermott/Getty)

For the first time as a Yankee and really for the first time in his career, CC Sabathia battled pitching mortality in 2012. He is one of the game’s preeminent workhorses, throwing at least 230 innings every year from 2007-2011 and at least 190 innings in ten of his 12 seasons as a big leaguer. His career-low was 180.1 innings back in 2001, when he was a 20-year-old rookie. He hit the DL twice this year, including once with an arm injury. After the season, Sabathia had surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow.

During a recent radio interview, pitching coach Larry Rothschild discussed his ace left-hander’s workload and the team’s intent to scale it back at various times. Here’s the quote passed along by the fine folks at MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM…

“Joe and I talked about (lightening Sabathia’s workload) even going back to last year. This year we talked about it even more. Not only lightening the load but the pitch total during the game, because he’s a guy that almost thrives on working the pitch totals, and when he doesn’t have them, it has an effect leading into the next start. Unlike a lot of guys where if they get a little more rest they’re more effective, he works more and throws more pitches he seems to get on rolls a lot quicker. And what happened, I think, part of this year is he didn’t do it. We didn’t let him get to that point, and then with the groin at one point and the elbow at the other, we just never got to that point until towards the end and then he got on another roll when he did throw the pitches. So it’s kind of a Catch-22 with him. We do have to watch it, and we’re going to probably have to watch a few guys on this staff. We’re aware of it and back off. When he had a chance to pitch with extra rest we did that. In the past he would pitch on the fifth day almost all the time.”

Despite the two DL stints, Sabathia still threw 200 innings (exactly 200, in fact) this year because he threw eight innings in his final three starts. He seemed to hit his stride in September as Rothschild said, dominating in those final three starts and twice again in the ALDS. At age 32, Sabathia has over 2,500 regular season innings on his arm, more than the career totals of Bret Saberhagen and Doug Drabek, for example. Within two years he’ll be in the top 150 all-time in innings pitched.

I mentioned this to Joe at some point late in the season, but perhaps the Yankees have to start treating Sabathia as more of a 200-inning guy than a 230-inning guy. That means giving him the extra day once in a while or not sending him out for the eighth when his pitch count is sitting at 105. His velocity did decline this year and it’s easy to say they should take their foot off the gas to “save bullets” so to speak, but as Rothschild notes, it’s easier said than done. CC does seem to be a rhythm pitcher, particularly with his command. Reducing his workload even slightly could mean a big adjustment has to be made on his part. I think it is something worth discussing though — the Yankees have already had these talks, obviously — especially with Sabathia approaching his mid-30s with another four (potentially five) years left on his contract.

Rothschild also discussed a number of other pitching topics during the interview, including Michael Pineda‘s injury and possible returns by Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera. Chad Jennings has the full recap.

Hot .GIF Action: Mark Montgomery

That’s right-hander Mark Montgomery, the Yankees’ top relief prospect, in tonight’s Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Showcase. He struck out the side in his scoreless inning, allowing a base-runner when the first baseman booted a ground ball. Baseball America said he had “a slider that grades as major league plus already” following the 2011 draft, when New York grabbed him in the 11th round. More .gifs after the jump.
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Saturday Night Open Thread

(Ezra Shaw/Getty)

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend, especially those of you still dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Sandy. The baseball offseason officially started today with the open of free agency, and the first free agent to come off the board was former Yankee Bartolo Colon. He re-upped with the Athletics for one year and $3M. If Bart got that coming off a suspension, you can all forget about signing Melky Cabrera for one year and like, $4-6M. Teams have lots of cash available and few places to spend it thanks to the draft and international free agent spending restrictions, so these guys are going to get paid. Handsomely.

Anyway, here is your open thread for the evening. There’s college football and NBA action on, but the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Showcase will be on MLB Network at 8pm. Yankees farmhands C Austin Romine, IF David Adams, and RHP Mark Montgomery will play in the game. Feel free to talk about anything you like here (no politics!). Enjoy.

Report: Rivera wants to return in 2013

Via George King: Mariano Rivera has informed the Yankees that he wants to pitch again next season. “Rivera contacted us and wants to play,” said Brian Cashman, who admitted to not being surprised by the decision.

Rivera, 43, blew out his knee in early-May and said he wanted to pitch again the next day, but a few weeks ago he told Cashman that he was having second thoughts. The two sides will discuss a contract in the coming week according to King, and this sounds like something that could happen relatively soon. Then again, the Yankees and Rivera have a history of contentious negotiations. Another one-year deal in the $10-15M range is likely in the cards.