Sunday Night Open Thread

Back to the grind tomorrow, eh? While you get your last bit of weekend relaxation in, you’ve got an array of things to entertain yourself with tonight. The finale of the Taiwan All-Star Series will be broadcast on MLB Network at 9pm ET, and here’s the game recap if you want to know what happened ahead of time (the video above is from the first game of the series). Spoiler: old buddy Chien-Ming Wang started for the Chinese Taipei team. Other than that, you’ve also the late football game (Ravens at Steelers, 8:20pm ET on NBC) and the Rangers in action. All you The Walking Dead fans get a new episode as well. Use this thread to talk about anything you want, it’s all fair game.

Discussion Question: After a starting pitcher or two, what is the Yankees biggest need this offseason?

Curtis returns to action in Venezuela

DWL Licey (9-6 win over Toros)
Hector Noesi, RHP: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 8-1 GB/FB – nice start, and he celebrated the only way you can celebrate: he got married!

AzFL Phoenix (9-2 loss to Scottdale) Friday’s game
Ronnie Mustelier, 3B: 2 for 5
Corban Joseph, 2B: 0 for 4, 2 K – down to .221/.262/.364 in 19 games out here
Chase Whitley, RHP: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0-2 GB/FB – 18 of 30 pitches were strikes (60%)

No Yankees farmhands played in yesterday’s AzFL Rising Stars Showcase, but here’s the box score anyway.

Dominican Winter League
Abe Almonte, OF: 13 G, 3 for 16, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 SB (.188/.235/.188)
Zoilo Almonte, OF: 5 G, 2 for 12, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K (.167/.286/.167)
Melky Mesa, OF: 5 G, 3 for 8, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP (.375/.444/.500)
Hector Noesi, RHP: 4 G, 4 GS, 15.2 IP, 17 H, 9 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 10 K, 1 WP (2.30 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Mexican Pacific League
Walt Ibarra, IF: 7 G, 3 for 25, 2 R, 8 K (.120/.120/.120)
Ramiro Pena, IF: 4 G, 5 for 12, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB (.417/.500/.750)
Jorge Vazquez, 1B/DH: 22 G, 27 for 86, 13 R, 2 2B, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 11 BB, 27 K (.314/.388/.547)
Pat Venditte, SwP: 12 G, 0 GS, 13 IP, 10 R, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 WP (4.15 ERA, 0.85 WHIP)

Puerto Rican League
Ray Kruml, OF: 2 G, 3 for 7, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SB (.429/.426/.571)

Venezuelan Winter League
Colin Curtis, OF: 1 G, 0 for 3, 1 K – first game of the year after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in Spring Training
Jose Gil, 1B/C: 13 G, 10 for 39, 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K (.256/.326/.359)
Luis Nunez, IF: 19 G, 17 for 64, 10 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 6 BB, 9 K, 5 SB, 2 CS, 1 HBP (.266/.329/.422)
Jose Pirela, SS: 20 G, 32 for 81, 7 G, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 14 RIB, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 SB, 1 CS, 2 HBP (.395/.424/.494)
Rich Martinez, RHP: 1 G, 0 GS, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 2 K (0.00 ER, 2.50 WHIP)
Josh Schmidt, RHP: 4 G, 4 GS, 21.2 IP, 15 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 11 BB, 24 K, 3 WP (1.66 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)

Matt Duran, Jorge Posada, Pedro Feliciano, and Kruml are among the players on Puerto Rican League rosters. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will play though, and in Feliciano’s case, we’re certain he’s not going to play because he’s recovering from September shoulder surgery.

Report: Yankees in touch with Oswalt, Wilson, and others

Via Marc Carig, Brian Cashman has already had preliminary talks with the agent for Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson. “I’m in the process of talking with everybody,” said Cash, who indicated yesterday that he would get in touch with Wilson’s people at some point. “That’s the way the routine works.” The Yankees are reportedly concerned about the two degenerative discs in Oswalt’s back, but there’s no harm in making a phone call. Oswalt and Wilson share the same agent, Bob Garber.

In other news, Cashman confirmed that he’s already talked to Freddy Garcia’s agent about a possible return, and he plans to do the same with Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, and Bartolo Colon. Chavez would supposedly welcome a return to New York if he doesn’t retire.

Saturday Night Open Thread

If you hurry up and turn on MLB Network, you can still catch the end of the fourth game of the Taiwan All-Star Series. Here’s the game recap in case you want to know what happens ahead of time. Once that is over, the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Showcase will air at 8pm ET on the same channel. No Yankees farmhands are playing, but you’ll get to see guys like Bryce Harper, Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, Mike Trout, Jaff Decker (a personal fave), and Mikie Mahtook, the guy the Rays took with the draft pick the Yankees forfeited for signing Rafael Soriano. All three hockey locals are in action as well. Talk about whatever you want here, anything goes.

Discussion Question: Who was a bigger bust, Andrew Brackman or Drew Henson?

Orioles set to hire Dan Duquette as GM

Via Tim Kurkjian, the Orioles are close to hiring Dan Duquette to be their new GM. Yankees amateur scouting director Damon Oppenheimer was a candidate for the job, but Dan Connolly reports that the O’s never even set up an interview with him.

Duquette hasn’t been in MLB for nearly ten years now. He was GM of the Expos from 1991-1994, then GM of the Red Sox from 1994-2001. He should get a bunch of credit for building the 2004 World Series team, but he doesn’t because crediting Theo Epstein is a better story. Duquette was the guy that brought in Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek, and Johnny Damon. Anyway, hooray for keeping Oppenheimer.

Mailbag: Working The Count

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Roy asks: Given the emphasis put on pitchers’ pitch counts in today’s games, what do you think about the idea of a player who bats below the Mendoza line, but has somehow mastered the skill of fouling off pitches and consistently puts up at-bats that take up 10+ pitches to a point where he could waste anywhere from a quarter to a third of the starting pitcher’s total pitches?

Two things jumped to mind when I first read this question. One, if the player is that bad with the bat and draws his offensive value from working the count, then he better be fast and awesome on defense. He’ll draw walks just by working the count so much, so he needs to be able to steal bases efficiently to maximize his value. The extra-bases won’t come from swinging the bat. The defensive part is self-explanatory, you can’t have a guy providing that little offense and be even average on defense. He’s got to be a stellar gloveman.

Secondly, here is something Joel Sherman wrote last month

Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long mentioned to me several times this year how good the arms were that the Yankees were seeing regularly in the middle innings. It messed a bit with the Yankees philosophy of work the starter hard to get to a weaker middle reliever. Long talked about a ton of arms throwing in the mid-90s now throughout bullpens with a strong secondary pitch that a lineup has to adjust to on one look. The underbelly did not feel as mushy.

Bullpens are getting more and more specialized these days, and more importantly, managers have gotten better at deploying them. Specialists are starting to be used more properly, which has added a whole new group of players to the talent pool because have begun to appreciate what guys excel at rather than dwell on their faults. Middle relievers are still the weak spot of pretty much any club’s roster, but they’re just not so weak anymore.

This player would basically be Brett Gardner to the extreme. Phenomenal defense, baserunning, and plate discipline, but zero ability to hit the ball for authority. The one thing we have to remember is that players don’t work the count to draw walks; walks are a byproduct of patience. They work the count to get a pitch to hit, and this theoretical player won’t be able to do much of that. It’s a radical idea, but I’m not sure it would work. I’m almost certain no team would ever try it though.

Cashman: We’ll talk to C.J. Wilson

Via Dan Martin, the Yankees will talk to C.J. Wilson at some point this offseason according to Brian Cashman. “We haven’t talked to him yet, but we will,” said the GM. “They have won a lot and he’s been a big part of that, so we’ll certainly talk to him.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise at all. The Yankees need pitching and Wilson is the best starter on the market, so they’d better at least put in a phone call to see what’s up. There’s no harm is asking, it’s just due diligence more than anything. I took a detailed looked at Wilson earlier this week, listing both the good and the bad.