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.

Categories : Analysis
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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.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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Sorry for the extended downtime and on-and-off problems these evening. We’ve upgraded RAB to a dedicated server and had some growing pains. But we should be at full strength now. The game recap is a little light, but feel free to comment away.

Lost in the brouhaha over the Pudge-for-Farnsworth deal was a stellar Yankee win. Prior to a very tough series against the Angels, the Yanks delivered a Bronx Beatdown of the Orioles. A-Rod hit a meaningless home run late in the game; Bobby Abreu picked up a pair of jacks; Xavier Nady knocked in a few runs; and Joba threw another very strong start. The Yanks walked away 13-3 winners, and they now sit just one game behind the Boston Red Sox — all on the win side — for the AL Wild Card.

Meanwhile, with that win, Joba is now 3-1 as a starter with a 2.23 ERA. He’s thrown 60.2 innings and has allowed 52 hits and 23 walks — most of those early on in his starting career — while striking out 69. He’s issued a grand total of two walks over his last four starts. While Joba will take his lumps, this transition to the starting rotation has been seamless.

And, oh yeah, Manny may be on the way out of Boston. Thursday’s bound to be interesting, and we’ll have plenty of coverage leading up to the trade deadline at 4 p.m. followed by the start of a key series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. So stay tuned.

Categories : Game Stories
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Triple-A Scranton (6-0 win over Syracuse)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 SB
Bernie Castro & Cody Ransom: both 0 for 4, 1 BB, 1 K
Matt Carson: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 1 for 3, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 SB – second steal of his career, the first came early last year with Tampa
Ben Broussard & Eric Duncan: both 1 for 4, 1 BB, 1 K – E-Dunc scored a run & committed a fielding error
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Chris Stewart: 1 for 2 - he and manager Dave Miley were ejected in the bottom of the 4th for arguing balls and strikes
JD Closser: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K – nice job after taking over for Stewart
Chase Wright: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 11-3 GB/FB – 42 of 70 pitches were strikes (60%)
Mark Melancon: 2 IP, zeroes, 3-3 GB/FB – 15 of 19 pitches were strikes (78.9%) … so I guess all that talk about him pitching multiple innings per outing because he was throwing so few pitches per inning had some truth to it
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, zeroes, 2-1 GB/FB – took him a grand total of 6 pitches to end this one

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Site Note: We’re upgrading to a dedicated server, so the site may act a little squirrelly as the switch is made over the next few hours. Please be patient if the site acts up a little tonight, everything will be much better by tomorrow. Thanks.

George Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees for a mere $10M back in 1973, and has watched the team grow into a $1.2 billion dollar mega-franchise. The most recognizable owner in sports has had his share of highlights, low lights, and all sorts of in-between lights, and remains as recognizable as ever despite handing the reins over to sons Hank & Hal. He’s been suspended from baseball for paying people to dig up dirt on one of his players, he revolutionized a new income stream by being the first owner to sell his team’s television rights to a cable network, he was indicted on 14 criminal counts for improper contributions to Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign, and he’s donated millions of dollars to charities of all shapes and sizes, most of which was done outside of the public eye.

During last weekend’s HOF induction ceremony, both Goose Gossage and Dick Williams shared their thoughts on Big Stein’s HOF candidacy, and that candidacy is what we’re here to discuss tonight. Does Steinbrenner belong to be immortalized in the Hall of Fame?

Many claim that he’s ruined baseball by exploiting his team’s financial advantages, others claim that he’s helped increase the game’s popularity to record highs. He may best be known for his firey temper and a revolving door of managers, but his contributions, particularly to the Tampa community, will leave the longest lasting impression of Mr. Steinbrenner.

What do you think, does The Boss belong in the HOF? Discuss it here, and play nice.

Categories : Open Thread
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How do you solve a problem when your All Star catcher goes down? By going out and acquiring another one, of course.

According to Buster Olney, the Yanks have acquired Ivan Rodriguez in a trade for Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth, the beleaguered reliever, had been throwing well of late, but the Yanks had long soured on Krazy Kyle and his unreliability. In Pudge, the team gets back a catcher hitting .295/.338/.417 in 328 plate appearances this year (.377/.423/.526 over 124 plate appearances since June 8th). He’s thrown out 18 of 50 would-be basestealers, a mark not quite as good as Jose Molina’s but not too shabby.

Off the bat, I’d call this trade a clear win for Brian Cashman and the Yanks. They’re trading one rental — a relief pitcher — for another rental — a catcher, and they’re upgrading from Farnsworth’s status as a Type B free agent to Pudge’s Type A. Plus, starting catchers are always more valuable than relief pitchers, and a catcher who can hit better than Jose Molina is a real upgrade for this team. Pudge will become the starting catcher for the rest of the season with Molina backing him up. This should spell the end of Chad Moeller’s run on the Yanks as well.

Nice pickup.

Categories : Transactions
Comments (134)

So since the Yanks have now lost with both Mike and Joe writing up the game post, it’s my turn. We’ll try something new.

Today, Joba Chamberlain looks to continue his incredible run of pitching success as he draws the start against the Orioles. The Yanks could really use a win before they must face the prospects of a tough four-game set against Mark Teixeira and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Lots going on in the Yankee Universe today. So let’s jump in. Don’t read too much into Brian Cashman‘s saying he hates this game. After last night’s loss, I too was hating baseball. That was one frustrating game.

Johnny Damon is, yet again, playing hurt. His shoulder, he feels, will bother him for the rest of the season. With Melky Cabrera epically struggling and Damon’s playing hurt, Xavier Nady should be in the lineup every day. Within that same NJ.com piece comes word that Chien-Ming Wang probably won’t pitch again this season.

Dennis Sarfate is making his first career start today. The game starts at 1:05 p.m. Let’s bring home a win.

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu DH
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Cano 2B
Nady RF
Cabrera CF
Molina C

Chamberlain P

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (310)

In the bottom of the first last night, Derek Jeter grounded out to third on the first pitch. This prompted a discussion regarding Jeter’s propensity this year to swing at the first pitch. It seems like he does it all the time. Anyone else agree? I’m sure there are at least some that have noticed this.

However, looking at Baseball Reference, this is not the case at all. In fact, Jeter has swung at the first pitch in just 31 percent of his plate appearances. That ties his career low mark, as he put up the same percentage over the course of last year.

What’s stranger is that Jeter seems to do better when he swings at the first pitch more and makes contact overall less. In 1999, Jeter’s best overall season, he swung at the first pitch in 41 percent of his plate appearances, a career high, and made contact 80 percent of the time. This year, as last year, he’s making contact in 85 percent of his plate appearances. In 2006, when he should have been MVP, he swung at the first pitch 37 percent of the time, and made contact 82 percent.

So what’s wrong with Derek Jeter this season? He’s not hitting poorly, per se. A .286/.348/.404 line isn’t horribly by any stretch, but we’ve come to expect a bit more from the captain. Is he in a decline phase? It’s possible, though no one wants to admit it. It’s one of the only explanations I can come up with. Anyone else seeing anything else?

Late add: His line drive percentage is down and his groundball percentage is up a little. That goes some way in explaining things.

Categories : Offense
Comments (38)
  • Everything — except the name — is for sale
    By

    The Yanks may not be selling the naming rights to their new stadium for hundreds of millions of dollars, but they are going to sell, well, everything else. Via Tyler Kepner in today’s Times: “Since the All-Star break, every time a Yankees pitcher records a strikeout, the P.C. Richard whistle plays over the loudspeakers as part of a sponsorship deal.” I haven’t been to a game post-All Star Break yet to experience this joy, but I believe that this move — the selling of a play on the field — may be a first. TV and radio broadcasts engage in this practice, but no team that I know of has sold plays before. · (13) ·