The Yanks are continuing to sign pitchers who aren’t very good like it’s nobody’s business. After weeks of speculation, they signed Victor Zambrano to a Minor League deal. Zambrano is most famous for being terrible after the Mets inexplicably traded Scott Kazmir for him. Meanwhile, the Twins are about to DFA Livan Hernandez. What are the odds that the 1997 NLCS and World Series MVP ends up on the Yankees? After all, he’s better than Sidney Ponson, although better is all relative. · (26) ·
It’s the next article in an ongoing effort to bring you misleading RAB headlines about Phil Hughes. The Yankees, says Peter Abraham, have activated Phil Hughes from the DL and have shipped him off to Single A Charleston. He’ll continue to work his way up through the system as on an assignment but is off the 30-day rehab schedule. Carl Pavano, meanwhile, is still on a rehab clock. In 28 days, he will be back in the Bronx, reinjured or off the Yankees. · (24) ·
It’s always easy to blame the new guy. It’s always comforting to point fingers at the interloper. It’s his fault, they say, that Andy Pettitte was off his game. That Ivan Rodriguez fellow, who needs him with Jose Molina calling better games?
Of course, it’s never quite that easy. Andy Pettitte just didn’t have it tonight. He allowed 14 base runners to reach in 5.1 innings and gave up nine runs tonight. Chris Britton, fresh up from AAA, finished the job in a way by allowing two inherited runners to score on the Angels’ third three-run home run of the night.
While Bobby Abreu continued his hot hitting with another homer and Xavier Nady launched his second Bronx bomb, the Yanks fell to the torrid Angels 12-6. It was just one of those nights, and with Sidney Ponson due to face Ervin Santana tomorrow, the timing couldn’t have been worse. There is, of course, a silver lining. While a flat-out awful call in the seventh squashed a Yankee rally before it could take off, the Yanks plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth, and we’ll get to get Joe’s belief that the team that scores last the night before starts off hot the next day.
For the Yankees, tonight’s loss dropped them a half further back behind the idle Red Sox and Rays in the AL East. With the Red Sox playing a fading Oakland team this weekend and the Rays, 40-16 at home, hosting the Tigers, the Yanks will have to bring their A game later tonight.
Meanwhile, more alarming is the fact that tonight’s loss was the Yanks’ fourth in five games. Since their eight-game winning streak to start the second half, the Yanks have cooled considerably. Sure, 9-4 over a 13-game span is still great baseball, but the hot streak has been dulled by a run of terrible baseball.
There is, in fact, no denying that these last few games have been terrible. Over their last five games, Yanks’ pitchers are throwing to an 8.80 ERA, and opponents are hitting around .350/.400/.600 against them. On the other side of the ball, the team’s hitters are hitting, but they can’t overcome such large deficits night after night.
Of course, the slate is wiped clean each day in baseball, and tonight the Yanks have a chance to start another winning streak. Maybe Ponson can launch them in a better direction.
Chad Jennings mentioned yesterday that Alan Horne was shipped down to Tampa so the head honchos can figure out what the hell is wrong with him. Horne’s medical history isn’t pretty, but after going injury free in 2006 & 2007, I figured that was all in the past. Now it’s starting to look like those two years were the exception rather than the rule.
Triple-A Scranton (4-1 win over Syracuse)
Brett Gardner, Juan Miranda & JD Closser: all 2 for 4 – Gardner drew a walk, scored a run & was caught stealing … Miranda doubled, drove in a run & was also caught stealing … Closser scored a run & K’ed
Bernie Castro: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 R, 1 RBI – the new everyday SS now that The Former Attorney General is heading to Washington
Matt Carson & Greg Porter: both 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K – Carson scored a run & threw a runner out at second from RF … Porter drove in a run
Cody Ransom & Ben Broussard: both 0 for 4, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4, 2 K
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 7-9 GB/FB – 55 of 87 pitches were strikes (63.2%)
Billy Traber: 1 IP, zeroes, 1-2 GB/FB – needed six pitches to navigate TEH 8TH INNING!!11!11
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-0 GB/FB
In all the hoopla surrounding the trade deadline, it’s easy to forget that the Yanks play a game tonight. We’re too busy celebrating the departure of Manny from the Red Sox or the arrival of Pudge to focus on the game, but it’s a doozy tonight.
For the first time this season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim arrive in New York. The Angels have long been a thorn in the Yanks’ side. The Yanks were just 55-61 against them during Joe Torre’s tenure. So I’m hoping they can get off on the right foot with Joe Girardi at the helm.
This, however, will be no small task. The Angels currently sport a 67-40 record, tops in the Majors by three games. They swept the Red Sox in Fenway Park this week, and the games weren’t really close. And, oh yeah, they also landed Mark Teixeira in a trade with the Braves. They are clearly the AL frontrunners right now, and this four-game set this weekend will impact the Yanks’ playoff hopes.
For the Yanks, Andy Pettitte takes the mound. The Angels are 19-7 against lefties this year. Gulp. The Angels counter with Jon Garland, 3-5 with a 4.26 ERA in his career against the Yanks. Starting this series — and Pudge’s Yankee career — out with a win would be huge for the Yanks.
Game Notes: Pudge will wear number 12. Andy Phillips, Clay Bellinger and Tony Womack plan to complain about that. I wonder if any other team has two numbers with the same last name wearing consecutive numbers on their backs. Someone get the Elias Sports Bureau on the phone….Edwar Ramirez is facing a three-game suspension for throwing at Kevin Millar. He’ll appeal. Daniel Cabrera received a six-game time-out for throwing at A-Rod.
At least, that’s what Jon Heyman says. Jason Bay is heading to Boston as part of the deal. More as we know it. The Rays’ inability to seal the Bay deal at the deadline may come back to hurt them after all.
Update: As expected, Ramirez waived his no-trade clause in exchange for the Dodgers’ declining his club options in 2009 and 2010. Those options were worth $20 million each. So Manny figures he can get more on the open market. While we’ve, for kicks, tossed around the idea of Manny’s coming to New York, odds are that another team will sign him to a longer term deal after this season. Scott Boras knows what’s out there and wouldn’t have given up $40 million if he couldn’t land a better deal elsewhere (See: Alex Rodriguez, circa Oct.-Nov. 2007).
Update 2: Good ol’ Kenny R. has more: “Pirates outfielder Jason Bay is headed to the Red Sox. The Pirates will receive Andy LaRoche and right-hander Bryan Morris from the Dodgers and outfielder Brandon Moss and releiver Craig Hansen from the Red Sox.” The Red Sox will also pick up all of the money left on Manny’s contract, and that strikes me as odd. If the Red Sox are willing to pay Manny not to play for them and they’re willing to forego the draft picks this off-season, they must really have wanted to ship Manny out of town this week.
Update on the Yanks: As many of you have noted, the Yanks sent the Former Attorney General to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Jhonny Nunez, a 22-year-old reliever. Chad Jennings breaks it down, and I can’t imagine this trade amounting to much of anything for either team. · (68) ·
Many baseball officials think the trade deadline is irrelevant in the talks between the Yankees and Mariners regarding Jarrod Washburn. Since Washburn is owed $10.35 million next season, most officials think he will easily pass through waivers after today’s 4 p.m. ET nonwaiver deadline.
Of course, after the deadline, another team could swoop in and claim Washburn, thereby blocking the Yankees and the Mariners from making a deal. Most analysts don’t see that happening.
Personally, if the Yanks have to acquire Washburn, I’d rather see the teams consummate this trade today before Sidney Ponson gets the ball again. As these talks drag on, I have to wonder if Seattle is close to overplaying its hand here. With each day, Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes or Carl Pavano (HA!) near a return to the Bronx, and the Yanks’ need for Washburn lessens. Now would be a good time for the Mariners to pull the trigger if they want to accomplish anything more than a salary dump.
It pains me to post this, since we’re going to a disliked source. But they’ve got the info, so they might as well get the credit. Joel Sherman reports that the Yanks will recall Chris Britton to fill the vacant spot on the 25-man roster. It wasn’t more than a week ago that Britton’s name was absent from the 40-man roster listing on Yankees.com. Looks like that was a glitch — though they still had 40 guys on the roster at the time. Not sure how that worked. In any case, Fats should be in the Bronx this evening. · (32) ·
While the Yankees improved their team yesterday by shipping out Kyle Farnsworth and landing themselves Ivan Rodriguez in return, the end of the Farnsworth Era provides us with yet another chance to ask our favorite question: Who will pitch the 8th inning?
Farnsworth, hurler in 30 8th innings this year, had emerged recently as the Yanks’ set-up man, to a point. He was yanked in Boston when he nearly coughed up a tight game, and he’s always just one misstep away from completely imploding. But he had his role on the Yankees, and now the team has to fill a bullpen hole.
While the team has yet to announce a corresponding roster move, you have to believe that Chad Moeller will be DFA’d and Brian Bruney will activated from the DL. With that move, the Yanks will have a plethora of candidates to set up for Mariano. Damaso Marte, long the setup man in Pittsburgh, seems likely to inherit the role, but Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras and Bruney should all be considered candidates. None of these players are less reliable than Farnsworth was, and three of them — Marte, Ramirez, Bruney — should be better than Krazy Kyle.
When Brian Cashman pulled the trigger on this deal, he pulled something of a coup. The Yanks instantly improved behind the plate. But he also fully committed himself to his new approach toward building the bullpen. He’s now content to throw young arms out there in an effort to see what sticks. We’ve long endorsed this approach. Why pay $5 million for a Kyle Farnsworth when Edwar Ramirez can be had for the league minimum? Now we’ll get to see how well this works, and how good Joe Girardi is at handling it. Who will emerge to pitch the 8th is a question entirely up for grabs.
Jayson Stark adds another name to the available starting pitchers: Kyle Lohse. Could the Yankees, given the death of the Jarrod Washburn proceedings, refocus their attention with just a few hours remaining before the trade deadline? It wouldn’t be easy, but as we’ve seen from Cashman in the past week, he’s open to the right deal.
Problem is, I don’t see this being the right deal for the Yanks. According to Stark, the Cardinals want a bat and a bullpen arm. We just dished one of our bullpen arms, and it’s not like we’ve got an endless supply. You want to have as many options as possible there, in case one of your guys has a bout of ineffectiveness. We’ve yet to see Veras, Edwar, and Robertson sustain quality performances over an entire season, so holding onto guys like Bruney, Cox, Melancon, etc. will be an important insurance policy.
As far as a bat, don’t we need those ourselves? They could try to flip Abreu, I suppose, though I’m sure that’s not even on Cashman’s mind. It would clearly be contingent upon the return of Hideki Matsui, which is looking more and more in doubt as each day passes. Beyond that, there is little we can offer St. Louis in those terms.
Plus, is Lohse worth it in the first place? Ya gotta remember why Minnesota got rid of him. He’s not a power guy, he doesn’t have the best control, and he’s prone to the longball. Or at least he was in the AL. In 2006, when he got booted from the Twins, he held a 7.07 ERA through 63.2 innings, and didn’t even maintain a 2:1 K/BB ratio. He’s been better with St. Louis this year, pitching to a 3.68 ERA and keeping his homers relatively in check. Still, you never know what’s going to happen when he jumps into the pressure cooker that is the AL East.
Stark mentions the White Sox and the Rockies as other suitors. The White Sox, with the acquisition of Griffey, seemingly have a spare bat. But with Scott Linebrink on the shelf, do they have a reliever to spare?
In any case, count me against acquiring Lohse. The price will be too high, as will the risk. No reason to blow prospects or proven guys on a pitcher who might implode in a return to the superior league.