Now that the Yanks have invested millions of dollars in their pitching staff over the next few years, the biggest issues surrounding the rotation concern the health of their pitchers. CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are coming off career high innings pitched. Joba Chamberlain, Chien-Ming Wang and the two leading candidates for the final rotation spot — Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes — are coming off of injuries.

To that end, Dave Eiland, the Yanks’ pitching coach, has a plan. Pete Caldera offered some insight into the Yanks’ pitching approach as Spring Training nears:

Given the unprecedented career workload that Sabathia and Burnett faced in 2008, the Yankees intend to ease their prized new starters into form when pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13.

“We’re going to be careful with them and make sure they peak April 6, not March 20,” Eiland said, referring to opening day. “We’ve already got a plan in place.”


Eiland has already spoken to Sabathia and Eiland about the gradual approach. “We’re not going to jump right in the fire of spring training,” Eiland said. “We’re not going to push them too early.”

But with Chien-Ming Wang, the idea is to get him in front of hitters as soon as possible.

In a rather telling quote, Eiland also noted the role Wang will play on the Yanks in 2009. “Wang’s as good a No. 3 as you’ll find as well,” he said to Caldera.

I’d be more inclined to see Wang as the Yanks’ number two. He has a better track record of success than Burnett and has certainly earned the designation for his work over the last few years. It is, however, mostly a matter of semantics.

In the end, the Yanks’ success will come down to pitching and health. As we’ve learned for too often over the last few years, a healthy pitching staff is something of a Holy Grail in baseball. But for now, the Yanks’ coaches are saying the right thing. Whether that can translate to on-field success is something we’ll find out in a few months.

A RAB hat tip to our own Mike Pop for sending in this article.

Categories : Pitching
Comments (83)
  • As Penny signs, Dodgers and Rangers express interest in Pettitte

    In a rather lengthy piece focusing on the lack of job offers for Jason Varitek or Ivan Rodriguez, Nick Cafardo notes that the Dodgers and Rangers are interested in Andy Pettitte. We’ve heard these rumors before, and Pettitte has continually said that he’ll play for only the Yankees. However, if Pettitte and the Yanks don’t come to terms, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the lefty land elsewhere. This all may just be a negotiating ploy in an effort to get the Yanks to up the team’s offer though.

    Meanwhile, the Red Sox are close to a one-year deal with Brad Penny. The contract is reportedly for one year and with a base salary of $5 million and $3 million in incentives. When healthy, Penny, a career NLer, can be a top pitcher, but he had an injury-plagued 2008. It’s a low-risk signing for the Red Sox and may encourage Pettitte to reevaluate the Yanks’ $10 million offer.
    · (39) ·

Man, be glad you aren’t a Lions’ fan. That’s brutal.

The winter leagues are just about all wrapped up, and with the New Year right around the corner it’s time to pack up DotF for the winter. See you in April.

  • Abe Almonte: 1 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 K in 3 games
  • Melky Cabrera: 29 for 93 (.312), 19 R, 6 2B, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 13 BB, 14 K, 2 SB in 24 games
  • Robbie Cano: 20 for 75 (.267), 14 R, 8 2B, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 7 BB, 7 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP in 19 games
  • Frankie Cervelli: 14 for 55 (.255), 9 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 9 BB, 13 K, 1 SB, 1 CS, 1 HBP in 24 games
  • Edwar Gonzalez: 27 for 75 (.360), 5 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 5 BB, 16 K, 3 RB, 1 HBP in 28 games
  • Walt Ibarra: 15 for 80 (.188), 3 R, 2 RBI, 7 BB, 20 K, 4 SB, 1 CS in 37 games
  • Ramiro Pena: 37 for 132 (.280), 15 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 3 BB, 14 K, 1 SB, 1 CS, 2 HBP in 36 games
  • Jorge Vazquez: 69 for 198 (.348), 37 R, 12 2B, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 23 BB, 50 K, 2 HBP in 54 games
  • Jon Albaladejo: 17.2 IP, 11 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 15 K, 1 WP in 16 appearances
  • Wilkins Arias: 12.2 IP, 16 H, 16 R, 15 ER, 9 BB, 14 K, 1 HB, 2 WP in 17 appearances

Use this as your Open Thread tonight. The Broncos and Chargers play at 8:15pm, winner wins the AFC West and goes to the postseason, loser goes home. Should be a good one in America’s Finest City.

Oh, and before I forget: I’m covering for longtime RAB reader Dave over at his recently launched site, Blueseat Blogs, while he enjoys a little holiday vacation this week. I’m barely keeping my head above water there, but Dave has been doing some great stuff for a few weeks now. Make sure you check it out if you’re a hockey fan. Heck, check it out even if you aren’t.

Comments (142)

It’s fitting that Chad Pennington would be the one standing in the way of a possible Jets’ playoff spot, but Gang Green has no one to blame but themselves after the past few weeks. It’s a simple scenario: the Jets need to beat the Dolphins AND the Ravens to lose at home to Jacksonville. The Pats already knocked off the Bills 13-0 to clinch a playoff spot and need the Jets to win to clinch a postseason berth.

Talk about the action here if you want. Just play nice.

Comments (128)
  • Bernie faces long odds to make PR’s WBC team

    According to a report in El Nuevo Día, a Spanish-language publication, Bernie Williams is a long shot to make the U.S. territory’s World Baseball Classic team. With better active players and some exciting up-and-comers available, Edwin Rodriguez, one of the team’s coaches, doesn’t see a spot for Bernie. Carlos Pieve, the ex-GM los Indios de Mayagüez, said that Bernie just doesn’t have the ability to compete at such a high level anymore. It’s sort of sad to hear these quotes about Bernie. He wanted to go out on his own terms, but he never could recognize when age had slowed him down too much. · (114) ·

Go nuts. Just play nice. Talk baseball. Talk anything.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (163)

We’re not entirely sure what’s going on with Andy Pettitte. He has a $10 million offer on the table and has yet to accept it. After the Yankees inked Mark Teixeira, some said that the Yanks considered pulling the offer, but that apparently has not happened yet. So we could still see Andy re-up with the Yankees, but it’s far from a guarantee.

The alternative to Pettitte as the fifth starter is a competition among those already in the organization. I’ve frequently seen the suitors listed as Hughes, Kennedy, Aceves, etc., though I’m not quite sure whom would be considered etc. Dan Giese? Maybe as a short-term option, but he looks like a better option in the bullpen. Chase Wright? Kei Igawa? Other than throwing left-handed, these two offer little to the major league club right now.

Picking the best from Aceves, Hughes, and Kennedy isn’t the worst plan in the world — certainly it’s better than implicitly handing any of them a spot outright. What do those three have in common, though? A lack of major league experience. Not that it’s a bad thing. Everyone has to start somewhere. Yet I can’t help but think it might behoove the Yankees to bring in a veteran to add to the competition.

We’re not talking about someone like Ben Sheets here, who would certainly require a guaranteed rotation spot before signing, and perhaps a multi-year deal as well. I’m talking about someone like Brad Penny. Buster Olney mentioned Penny’s situation in his blog today, noting that the veteran righty “may soon make his decision about where he wants to pitch in 2009,” noting that he wants a one-year deal to re-establish his credibility.

Unfortunately, it looks like Penny is the only attractive name among the available free agents. By attractive, I mean someone who has had past success at the major league level, preferably on a consistent basis. Even Penny himself might be a stretch, since he could easily land a guaranteed major league deal, rather than the minor league deal which would be ideal for a competition scenario.

So while it’s nice to think about adding a new element to a fifth starter competition, it doesn’t seem very likely. There might be some names on the board right now, but they’ll start dropping once we hit mid-January and teams start to fill out their rosters. But just for the hell of it, who would you guys target as some fifth starter competition for the youngsters?

Categories : Hot Stove League
Comments (110)
  • Pettitte offer still on the table

    In the ongoing Andy Pettitte saga, Anthony McCarron says the Yanks’ one-year, $10-million is still on the table, but Yankee officials don’t seem confident that Pettitte will return to the Bronx. McCarron’s sources put the lefty’s return at 55-45 against, and the team is fully prepared to hand over the final rotation spot to Phil Hughes. The clock is ticking on Pettitte, and I wouldn’t be surprised at either outcome of this saga. · (58) ·

  • Sickels’ Top Yankees’ Prospects List

    John Sickels over at Minor League Ball has posted this year’s list of the Yanks top prospects, and went against the grain by naming Jesus Montero the #1 prospect. Usual caveats with the list: some guys are too high, some too low, and it seems heavy on relievers. I don’t like the Eduardo Sosa ranking at all, Dominican Summer League guys are so far away they might as well be sophomores in high school. Phil Coke & Al Aceves … man who saw this coming a year ago? · (83) ·