Chan Ho Park designated for assignment

Via Marc Carig, Chan Ho Park has been designated for assignment to clear room on the roster for Kerry Wood. Al Aceves was moved to the 60-day DL to free up a 40-man roster spot for Austin Kearns.

I was definitely a fan of the CHoP pick up at the time, but it obviously didn’t work out. Despite peripherals similar to last year, he became incredibly homer prone and just generally unreliable. He did give us this, however, and for that we will be eternally grateful.

Yankees acquire Kerry Wood

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Yankees have acquired Kerry Wood for a player to be named later or cash according to Buster Olney, Joel Sherman, and Jon Heyman. Heyman says the Indians will pay more than $2M of the $3.8M owed to Wood through the end of the season. The Yanks are on the hook for just $1.5M, cup holder change for the Steinbrenners, but Sherman says the compensation is also conditional on Wood’s health. Basically the Yanks could end up playing as much as half of the money still owed to the righty if he stays healthy.

Joe presented the case for acquiring the former Cubs’ phenom a few weeks ago. Wood just came off the disabled list today, missing some time with a blister. His ERA is an ugly 6.30, but that is a product of a five run, one out appearance back in May. He’s been much better since that disaster (.220/.313/.339 against). Wood still has nasty stuff and is definitely tough as nails, and with the Indians eating a chunk of the money, this is a low risk, super high upside move.

The beautiful thing about bullpens are that they’re seven men deep. Wood doesn’t replace Joba Chamberlain or David Robertson, he replaces whoever gets cut, basically the 24th or 25th man on the roster. The move gives the Yanks another late inning option, whether that’s the 7th or 8th inning doesn’t matter. It’s just extra inventory, which is never a bad thing. Hopefully this move means the end of Chan Ho Park, but that guy’s got more lives than a cat.

Olney: Yanks still open for business

The trade deadline is under an hour away now, but Buster Olney says the Yankees are still open for business. Like I said earlier, if they do make a move it won’t be anything major, probably just a utility infielder and/or a reliever. It’s quiet right now, so that means Brian Cashman is getting ready to pounce. I guess we’ll find out in 50 minutes or so.

Sherman: Yanks still looking for an utility infielder

With their designated hitter and fourth outfielder issues solved, the Yankees are still on the hunt for a backup infielder according to Joel Sherman. They’re obviously looking for a guy that could handle shortstop and third base without a problem, plus someone who could outhit Ramiro Pena. That last part won’t be so difficult, Pena’s got a .223 wOBA this season.

The trade deadline is just over two hours away (4pm ET), but remember that deals can still go down in August after some waiver shenanigans.

It’s official: Lance Berkman is a Yankee

The 24-hour grace period is over, and according to a press release the Yankees have officially acquired Lance Berkman. The Astros receive minor leaguers Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes in the deal while kicking in $4M to help cover for the $7M still guaranteed to Berkman through the end of the season. The Yanks’ new designated hitter will be in uniform tonight, and presumably in the starting lineup.

Welcome to the Boogie Down, Lance.

Deadline Day Open Thread

The Yankees acquired both Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns yesterday, fortifying their lineup and bench. Both are expected to be in uniform tonight, and I assume Berkman will start at designated hitter. They’re reportedly still working on some moves, though nothing as major as what they did yesterday. Might as well start the day off with a latest rumors, with more sure to come throughout the day.

In semi-related news, the Rays acquired Chad Qualls, probably the best reliever available on the market. Don’t be fooled by his 8.29 ERA (.434 BABIP, 51.4% strand rate), the peripherals are strong.

Feel free to use this thread to talk about any trade chatter throughout the day, but if the Yanks make any moves we’ll be sure to have up new posts. Also, make sure to check out Steve’s latest on Joba and Robertson, and come join me at the FanGraphs chat at 1.

Two pitchers, two perceptions

Look at the lines above (stats thru 7/28).  They are very similar.  Both pitchers are doing a fine job of missing bats with strong strikeout rates.  Both are struggling with walks, though pitcher B is much worse off.  Both are doing a good job of keeping the ball in the park.  And both have been terribly unlucky on balls in play.  As you can see by their FIP and xFIP numbers, the walk rate of pitcher B is the biggest difference between these two pitchers.  So why is Pitcher B replacing Pitcher A in the 8th inning?

Cleary Pitcher B, David Robertson, is trending up and Pitcher A, Joba Chamberlain, is trending down. With the limited sample size is this really shocking?  Is Joba really trending the wrong way or just hitting a rough patch?  Almost all middle relievers and non-Mo closers are going to have a few bad outings in a 4 or 5 game stretch that can completely skew the numbers with only 30-40 innings pitched.  For Robertson this happened early in the season and for Joba it has happened lately.  Is this really a reason to flip their spots in the bullpen?  If the intent is to ride Robertson while he’s hot and go back to Joba when he gets in gear I have no problem with it.  If it is set in stone however, I can’t agree with the decision.

Even though they have been similar pitchers this year, I think if both are pitching well Joba should be in the 8th inning.  Not because he’s necessarily a better pitcher, but I believe he’s more suited for the role.  8th inning guys across baseball have developed, much like closers under Tony LaRussa, into one inning guys who come in with bases empty.  While Joba has primarily been a starter in his college, minor league and major league career Robertson has been a reliever thru college and the minors.  As a starter Joba opened every inning with the bases empty.  Robertson, on the other hand, in his short time in the majors established himself as a guy who can put out fires.  In fact, Robertson has faced more batters with runners on than not.  Despite his scary walk rates, Robertson does a fine job of pitching with men on base which better suits him for a role in the 7th (or even 6th) inning when runners are on.  To make sure this wasn’t just anecdotal; I decided to take a look at Chamberlain and Robertson’s numbers with runners on:

As you can see, both in 2010 and in their career Robertson has been better with runners on.  Considering their career OPS’ against are within 1 point of each other it’s a pretty smooth comparison.  Joba’s career OPS against with runners on is 13 points worse than with the bases empty.  Robertson’s OPS against with runners on is 46 points better than with the bases empty.  While Joba doesn’t show much of a difference whether runners are on or not, Robertson clearly pitches better when the bases are occupied.

While Joba hasn’t been great lately, if you told me now the Yankees had a 1 run lead in Game 7 of the World Series (after 7 strong from CC) and needed to choose between Joba and Robertson to come in for the 8th, I’m taking Joba.

For more of my work head over to Mystique and Aura.