I have made no mistake of my dislike for Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi. He used his pseudo-fame from Moneyball to land the gig in Toronto (Paul DePodesta was their first choice, but turned them down), and further, he lied to get the job. When all the other GM candidates said they needed more payroll dollars to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, Ricciardi said the Jays were spending too much money. And what did he go and do? Spent a ton of money. Worse: it was in all the wrong places.

The Blue Jays are no better now than they were when Ricciardi took the job. In fact, they’re no better than when Ricciardi dumped the low payroll philosophy and started spending money. He raised the payroll from $45.7 million in 2005 to $71.9 million in 2006 to $81.9 million this year, yet has continued to field mediocre teams. I don’t know how Ted Rogers hasn’t figured out that J.P. isn’t going to get this done — and we’re not even going into the dismal state of their farm system (though they had a decent 2007 draft).

Ricciardi’s latest offense: blaming A.J. Burnett for being constantly injured. Never mind that the guy had a long history of injuries when Ricciardi signed him after the 2005 season. No, J.P. won’t shoulder any of that blame. He’s going to pin it all on Burnett, who is out at least another three weeks with a sore shoulder.

Here’s what Mr. Ricciardi had to say about Burnett:

“I don’t know if it’s psychological, I don’t know if it’s just he gets to a point he feels something and he’s been so scarred by being hurt so many times that he just backs off. But I think he’s going to have to get over that hump at some point and just maybe pitch through some pain or realize what the difference is between really being hurt and not being hurt.”

Plenty of pitchers have played through shoulder pain. And most of them have done considerable damage to themselves. Why in the world would you want a pitcher to play through shoulder pain? I mean, the shoulder is kind of important to a pitcher’s delivery, so it doesn’t seem to make much sense to have him risk serious damage to it. Apparently, Ricciardi doesn’t understand that.

Ricciardi also mentioned that Burnett might be better suited as the team’s fourth or fifth starter. What does that mean, J.P.? That you’re going to try to find pitchers better than him? I don’t get that line of thinking. When A.J. was their No. 2 starter, they didn’t need to find anyone better than him, but when he’s their No. 4 or 5, they do? I thought the idea was to always find better pitchers.

I don’t know why I’m complaining so much about this — having a GM like this in our division should be a blessing. I just hate to see dunderheads like Ricciardi running teams when there are plenty of more competent and qualified individuals to do so. Ricciardi has proven himself wrong for the job many times over, yet still has a job. That he’s calling out a pitcher who he signed is just another demerit on his resume. We all knew A.J. Burnett was an injury risk. Ricciardi is the idiot who gave him $55 million.

Hat tip to MLB Trade Rumors

Categories : Rants
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That win today, it was a good one. Hideki Matsui, batting clean-up, utterly crushed a 3-1 offering from Pat Neshek to give the Yanks a lead they wouldn’t give up. And with that blow, the Yanks took 3 out of 4 in a must-win series for the Bombers.

But the real story of today wasn’t the win or Kyle Farnworth’s fourth 1-2-3 inning of the season. The real story was yet another incredibly bad outing from Kei Igawa. Down 2-0 before the Yanks had a chance to bat, Igawa would later cough up a three-run lead. Torre pulled the Japanese bust after five innings, and for once, going to the bullpen was the right move.

Since returning to the Yankees rotation from Minor League purgatory, Igawa has gone 0-1 with 6.19 ERA. Sadly, that’s an improvement from his pre-demotion tenure on the Yanks. While the Yanks have gone 2-1 in his three starts, the credit belongs to the offense as they’ve scored 14 runs in the two wins (and were one-hit in the loss).

Specifically, Igawa has thrown 16 innings, surrendering 17 hits while walking 9 and striking 12. He’s given up 3 home runs and has retired just 14 batters via the ground ball as opposed to 21 via the fly ball. He pitches like a disaster waiting to happen, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets pounded for an ungodly number of runs in, say, 1.2 innings.

So what should the Yanks do? With Phil Hughes still a few weeks out, the Yanks’ options are limited. They could keep Igawa in the rotation, and they do seem to be leaning toward giving him at least one more start. They could dip back into the farm system and call up Steven White.

What they won’t do, however, is what we would all love to see happen if just for the novelty of it: The Yankees will not call up Joba Chamberlain. This afternoon, I debated whether or not to post a piece calling for his Bronx debut. He is, after all, making mince meat of AA hitters, and he has the psychological make-up to make the most of a Big League call up. But being cautious right now is the right choice. There’s no need to rush a potential top-line starter this season.

For now, then, we’re stuck with our expensive waste of money. While some of us have clamored for Igawa’s release, the Yanks have options on the ineffective lefty and owe him a pretty penny over the next few seasons. He won’t go anywhere, but the team will try to minimize the damage he may do at the Big League level. And with Hughes on the horizon, all we have to do is hold out a few more weeks. It can’t be all that bad, right?

Categories : Pitching
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Remember to Vote for Joba! The poll comes down whenever I wake up tomorrow.

Triple-A Scranton was rained out; they’ll make it up as part of an August 9th doubleheader. I was really looking forward to the scheduled Jon Lester-Chase Wright pitching matchup, but of course the weather interfered. Story of my life.

Double-A Trenton is currently in a rain delay. The Thunder were leading the…uhhh…team from Altoona 5-4 in the middle of the 8th when the rains came. I’m not going to wait around for the game to finish, so here’s what the boys did up to that point:
Brett Gardner: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB – BA went from .213 to .310 since he returned from his broken hand injury just under a month ago
Alberto Gonzalez: 0 for 4, 1 R, 2 E (throwing, fielding)
Cody Ehlers: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 3 for 4, 1 2B, 2 RBI- 10 for his last 21 with 5 XBH… now if they only let him play first
Matt Carson & Colin Curtis: both 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K – Curtis swiped a bag
Jeff Marquez: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 10-5 GB/FB, 1 E (pickoff) – file this under “completely uninteresting Jeff Marquez starts,” just like the rest of ‘em

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Monday is Hughesday

By in News. Tags: · Comments (5) ·

Sorry for the headline.

There has been a rumor floating around the Internets regarding Phil Hughes making a rehab start on Monday. Pete Abraham confirms that today. It’ll be at Tampa, and you can be sure you’ll hear plenty about it.

Normally, I wouldn’t double-dip from Pete, but to us, this is very important news.

Categories : News
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  • 1-2-3

    Stop the game. Break out the champagne. Kyle Farnsworth just threw a 1-2-3 inning. · (7) ·

We’re still tied at five at the Stadium. I’m sure I’ll spend plenty of time ragging on Kei Igawa later on, but let’s get to some more optimistic news.

A-Rod is to undergo an MRI today — though he was in the dugout, so maybe it happened already. We’ll update this section when we hear the results.
Update: From the YES postgame: MRI came back negative. Expect A-Rod to play tomorrow night.

Giambi is out of the boot and will be reevaluated. He’s got an MRI coming that will determine when he’ll be back (and boy could we use him).

Hughes is throwing BP today in Tampa, and is on target to start a rehab assignment soon:

I mentioned Hughes earlier, and there’s some good news on that front—he could start a rehab assignment next week. His ankle is healed, so now the biggest challenge for him is rebuilding his stamina. If he starts next week, he could be back in The Bronx before we flip the calendar, but expect a very deliberate, conservative plan for him.

All in all, we’re sitting on some decent news. Updates if any come later today.

News via Pete Abraham and Will Carroll.

Update by Mike: While we’re on the topic of injured players, I might as well mention this little tidbit from Kat O’Brien over at Newsday:

Jeff Karstens (broken leg) is not yet throwing batting practice, but is throwing from a mound.

Doug Mientkiewicz (broken wrist) and Darrell Rasner (fractured finger) are scheduled to go to Tampa at the All-Star break for further rehab.

Getting players healthy is always a good thing; even if no one has any friggin’ idea where they’ll play once they’re ready to do so.

Categories : Injuries
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Vote for Joba!

By in Polls. · Comments (15) ·

A couple of days ago there was a nice little discussion about which picture of Yankees pitching prospect Joba Chamberlain people preferred for the Joba Watch. I scoured the interweb looking for shots of the guy, and came up with a couple decent ones. Photos and poll after the jump.

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Categories : Polls
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  • A-Rod out today

    On Monday night, we held our collective breaths when A-Rod went down. We exhaled on Tuesday when he was in the starting lineup. But mired in an 0-for-19 slump and feeling the effects of his tweaked hamstring, A-Rod is not in the lineup for today’s day game. There is no word on his condition beyond this. We’ll have more when it becomes available. Hideki is taking over the clean-up duties today. · (0) ·

An abbreviated report on last night’s action…

  • Chris Britton gave up 3 ER in 1 inning of work. His ERA has gone from sub-1.00 to 2.77 in the last month or so.
  • Brett Smith threw a no-hitter for Trenton, but you can stick an asterick on it; the game was called after 5 innings due to rain. He also walked an ungodly 7 batters.
  • Seth Fortenberry took another 0-fer and is now 3 for his last 30. Josue Calzado went 3 for 4 with a bomb.
  • Dellin Betances went 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 BB, 6 K. It seems like everyone was walking alot of guys last night, so you can probably attribute that to the crappy weather on the East Coast.
  • Ross Ohlendorf went 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K in his 3rd rehab start with the GCL Yanks.

I like sleep. Sleep is good.

Categories : Down on the Farm
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