Archive for Chad Gaudin

Today begins the filing period for salary arbitration hearings, which means the start of a tedious process for players and teams. Once a player files, he and the team must exchange figures by January 19 in anticipation of a February hearing. For the next month plus, teams and players will negotiate for what each considers a fair salary. If they reach no such agreement they present cases in front of an arbiter, who will then choose either the team’s or the player’s proposed salary. In other words, once you get to a hearing there’s no longer a chance for compromise. It’s either one or the other.

Partly because of this all or nothing nature, most cases never go to a hearing. In fact, as Craig Calcaterra notes, 90 percent settle. This has left, since the inception of arbitration in 1974, just 487 hearings, or about 14 per season. It seems like that number has come down in recent years, too, perhaps because of the imbalance in decisions. Teams have won 57 percent of hearings, and while that’s not a huge margin, it does give a player an incentive to settle.

(But at least it’s not as bad as corporate-consumer arbitration, which heavily favors one side.)

At MLB.com Anthony Castrovince describes the history of arbitration and how it has evolved since its inception in the early 70s. Back then it was a way to better reward players for their contributions while still preventing them from becoming free agents. Over the years, players continued to push the limits higher, gaining better and better compensation in arbitration. A handful of cases in each decade stand out, but none quite like Ryan Howard’s $10 million in 2008. The next year, arbitration eligible players received average raises of 172 percent. While free agent salaries trend downward, arbitration salaries continue to rise.

Given the perils of facing an arbitration hearing, chances are the Yankees will settle with both of their arbitration cases, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre. Neither pitcher had a standout 2009, and the Yankees will likely use that to their advantage in negotiations. Mitre’s poor statistics almost force him to settle. Gaudin and his agent will likely concentrate on his numbers while with the Yankees (42 IP, 3.43 ERA), so maybe he has more of a case. But given Gaudin’s 2009 salary, $2 million, and his season-long performance, I’m not sure he can expect too hefty a raise. This could keep the two parties’ proposals close together, making it easier to strike a compromise.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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With Javier Vazquez back in the fold and the Yanks enjoying a glut of Major League starters, the team may look to capitalize on this depth. According to Joel Sherman (via Twitter), the Yanks will probably try to move Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre before the end of Spring Training. Either righthander would be a fine fit for a team looking for some back-end help for its starting rotation, and the Yanks see these two pitchers as seventh or eighth, respectively, on their starting pitching depth charts. It’s possible that the team would turn to Alfredo Aceves over Mitre as well.

On the basis of quality, Gaudin would command more interest and a higher return, but he will be owed nearly $4 million in 2010. Mitre should re-sign for around $1.5 million and would be a more attractive target for some cost-conscious teams. Less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, Mitre struggled to find any consistency with the Yanks in 2009 while Gaudin was adequate as a long reliever and spot starter.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League
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Via Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have decided to not tender a contract to Chien-Ming Wang. Sergio Mitre, Melky Cabrera, and Chad Gaudin were all offered deals. “There’s no doubt that we had to make a tough decision,” said GM Brian Cashman. “We are still hopeful that our relationship can continue, but those decisions are yet to be made.” Hopefully something can be worked to out to bring the sinkerballer back for depth, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Good luck, Wanger.

Update: Since this is probably your last chance, make sure you bring your best CMW double entendres in the comments.

Categories : Asides
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Dec
11

Love me non-tender

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Recycling headlines is usually a no-no, but that one Ben came up with was too good. Anyway, midnight tomorrow is the deadline for clubs to offer contracts to their players with fewer than six years of service time, better known as non-tender day. Matt at Fack Youk looked at the four players the Yankees might consider cutting loose, headlined by Chien-Ming Wang. I’m really on the fence about Chad Gaudin; he’s a very nice guy to have around for that swingman role, but a potential $3M salary ($4.2M in Yankee dollars because of the luxury tax) isn’t exactly cost effective.

Here’s MLBTR’s list of non-tender candidates, and there’s actually a few decent players out there. Here’s last year’s list of actual non-tenders for comparison. See anyone worth bringing in? I’m prepared to start a “Dioner Navarro for Backup Catcher” campaign if he gets cut loose.

Categories : Asides
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Over the next week or so, we’ll again break down what went wrong and what went right for the 2009 Yankees. The series this year will be much more enjoyable than the last.

The Midseason Pickups

While the big offseason additions received the majority of the media and fan attention during the season (rightfully so), the little moves the team made to tweak the roster midseason also played a key role in bringing them to the promised land.

For most of the first half, the best bat the Yankees had on the bench belonged to Brett Gardner, which was sad. That all changed in late June, when the team acquired World Series veteran Eric Hinske (and $400,000 to pay his salary) from the Pirates for two throw away minor leaguers (a.k.a. Casey Erickson and Eric Fryer). Hinske immediately became the team’s primary pinch hitter, and even chipped in a few starts here and there to keep the regulars rested.

Hinske famously clubbed five homers in his first seven games with the Yanks, and hit .226-.316-.512 overall. He also played three different positions (not including DH), and reached base in his only postseason plate appearance, eventually coming around to score.

The second midseason pickup came right on the July 31st trade deadline, when the Yanks used their surplus of minor league catching depth (in this case: Chase Weems) to import the versatile Jerry Hairston Jr. from Cincinnati. Hairston replaced the overmatched Cody Ransom as the all-purpose bench player, and he went on to play every position but pitcher, catcher, and first base for the Bombers. Hairston’s overall batting line of .237-.352-.382 wasn’t spectacular, but bench players that can get on base more than 35% of the time don’t grow on trees.

On the roster for all three playoff series, Hairston ignited a game winning rally with a lead off single in the 13th inning of Game Two of the ALCS. He later made a spot start in rightfield for the slumping Nick Swisher, going 1-for-3 off Pedro Martinez in Game Two of the World Series and igniting another rally with a lead off single. Although Hairston and Hinske saw limited action in the playoffs, both certainly contributed in big ways once their names were called.

The final midseason pickup came a week after the Hairston trade, when the Yanks shipped $100K to San Diego in exchange for Chad Gaudin. The righthander initially worked out of the bullpen, but soon displaced Sergio Mitre as the team’s fifth starter. The Yankees won all six of Gaudin’s starts, during which he posted a 3.19 ERA. Even though he was on call to make a start every round, Gaudin appeared in only one game in the postseason, mopping up a blow out win in Game Four of the ALCS.

No team is ever complete in April, and the Yankees did a tremendous job of upgrading their roster during the season while using minimal resources. Weaknesses were addressed by acquiring veteran players familiar with the roles they were being asked to fill, not players who weren’t accustomed to coming off the bench or pitching on an irregular schedule. The added depth rewarded the team down the stretch and in the postseason.

Photo Credits: Reuters, Reuters, and Reuters

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The MLB Players Association yesterday released its list of the 210 players eligible for arbitration. Maury Brown has the full list right here, and five members of the 2009 Yankees find themselves under team control and arbitration-eligible.

Before exploring these players, a few notes on procedures: Salary arbitration is available for players who have not yet reached free agency and players who are free agents. A player with more than three years but fewer than six — with some exceptions for what is known as Super Twos — can file for arbitration. Conversely,the player’s former team can decide to non-tender those players at which point the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.

For current free agents not constrained by service time, clubs can offer salary arbitration to former players by Dec. 1. That move allows the team to recoup draft picks if the player goes elsewhere, but the team runs the risk of an unwanted or overpaid player accepting arbitration and sticking around. The arbitration discussed here is limited by service time and not contractual free agency. And so onto the Yankees.

Chien-Ming Wang — Service Time: 4.159 years; 2009 Salary: $5 million
The Yankees and their former ace have a tenuous relationship when it comes to salary disputes. In 2008, Wang lost in arbitration, and the Yankees made a big deal about saving $600,000 in the process. Last year, the two parties settled for $5 million in late December, but it’s clear that the Yankees are skeptical of Wang’s ability and future success. Considering the nature of his surgery and his recent ineffectiveness, they might have a reason for that skepticism.

Early on this off-season, the conversation has centered around Wang’s contract status, and rumors suggest that the Yankees will non-tender him. They could then try to sign him to an incentive-laden deal with a low base salary. Whether this will placate the sinker-ball specialist is up for debate. Some feel the two-time 19-game winner could test the open market; others say that his marketability in Taiwan is dependent upon the pinstripes.
Prediction: The Yanks will non-tender Wang but resign him to an incentive-based deal more favorable to the team.

Brian Bruney — Service Time: 4.164 years; 2009 Salary: $1.25 million
Last year, the Yanks and Bruney avoided arbitration after exchanging salary figures. Bruney wanted $1.55 million; the Yanks countered with $1.1 million; and the two sides nearly split the difference. Bruney had a worse year in 2009 than he did in 2008. He suffered through some early-season elbow problems and saw his walk rate increase while his strike out rate decreased. His ERA jumped over 2.10 runs, but the Yankees want to bring him back.
Prediction: A one-year deal worth approximately $1.7-$2 million.

Melky Cabrera — Service Time: 3.148 years; 2009 Salary: $1.4 million + $25,000 for reaching 525 plate appearances
Unless something drastic happens — Curtis Granderson, Mike Cameron or that long-rumored Melky and Ian Kennedy for [Insert Player Here] trade — Melky will again battle it out with Brett Gardner for the center field job. After putting up bad numbers in 2008, Melky rebounded with a nice 2009 campaign. I would expect the Yanks will settle with Melky but not offer him a long-term deal.
Prediction: One year, $2.5 million

Chad Gaudin — Service Time: 4.163 years; 2009 Salary: $2 million
A mid-season acquisition, Gaudin showed some good stuff while pitching for the Yanks. He’ll be 27 by Opening Day and will be a swing man for the Yanks next year. I doubt the two sides will head to arbitration here, and Gaudin should receive a bump from his $2 million salary.
Prediction: One year, $3-$4 million

Sergio Mitre — Service Time: 4.132 years; 2009 Salary: $1.25 million
Mention “Sergio Mitre” to a Yankee fan and you may find that fan fighting back the urge to scream. Just a year removed from Tommy John Surgery, Mitre was awful for the Yanks. He managed to win three games but sported a 6.79 ERA. Opponents hit .320/.361/.509 off of him. The Yankees hold a $1.25 million option for 2010, and although Mark Feinsand doesn’t expect them to pick it up, I do. For that low price, the Yanks can bolster their depth.
Prediction: One year, $1.25 million

Categories : Hot Stove League
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When word leaked that Joba Chamberlain would stay in the bullpen for the remainder of the season, we deemed it big enough news to get an instant post. Ben briefly discussed the decision yesterday evening, but left it as mostly a report. There’s a lot more to say about this move, and while regular RAB readers might think we’re against it, I’ll take a stand and say it’s the right move.

This isn’t the regular season. The Yankees cannot afford to hand Chamberlain the ball and hope for the best, as they did in September. During the regular season teams have a margin for error. The Yanks were able to use Joba every fifth day because there were four other starters to help cover up his bad starts. If the Yanks were facing another team’s fourth or fifth starter (or, really, any of their non-ace guys), they might have even been able to put up more runs than Joba allowed. This is not the case in the playoffs.

There is no covering up for mistakes in the playoffs. If Joba has a bad game, as he did for almost the entire months of August and September, it puts the Yankees one loss closer to elimination. That’s something no team can afford, even for one game in the playoffs. Given how Chamberlain pitched in August and September — 39 earned runs in 46.2 innings with a 36:26 K/BB ratio and a .913 OPS against — the Yanks are wise to seek alternatives in the ALCS.

The only place to turn is to Chad Gaudin, the team’s fifth starter down the stretch. In five September starts he pitched 26.2 innings, allowing 11 runs on 27 hits, walking 10 to 18 strikeouts. Those aren’t sterling numbers, but they’re far better than Joba’s. Gaudin shouldn’t be starting for a playoff team, but the Yankees find themselves in dire circumstances. Their fourth starter has proven ineffective, so the fifth starter must take over if he’s pitching better.

There is, of course, a chance Gaudin pitches poorly and puts the Yankees out of a game early. Given how he pitched compared to Joba, though, it would appear that the Yanks’ chances are better with Gaudin. There is also an issue of stamina — Gaudin pitched six or more innings only twice, and once was against the Royals. I would guess that when the Yankees say Gaudin will start in the ALCS, they mean that Gaudin will start and Aceves will act as his caddy, as he did for Joba in August and September. It’s not an ideal solution, but the Gaudin-Aceves combo, while wasting a roster spot, puts the Yankees in a better position.

On top of all that is the issue of Joba’s innings. Between college and the Hawaiian Winter League in 2006, Joba threw just under 130 innings. He is now three years removed from that total, and he pitched just under 160 innings this year. In addition, he has pitched just 370 innings as a professional. The Yankees worked Joba plenty in the regular season, and while he’d get only two starts, those are two starts in which he’d be well past his high water mark, and way, way beyond his 100 inning total from 2008.

The decision is not perfect. The Yankees surely don’t want to have Chad Gaudin pitch in the ALCS and World Series. (Though, again, if they pitch CC once on three days’ rest in the ALCS, they won’t need a fourth starter.) Given the alternatives, it is the only decision. Forget about how Joba can play a big role in multiple games out of the pen. The decision is based on performance, and Gaudin clearly outperformed Joba down the stretch.

As to Joba’s future, I wouldn’t read anything into this decision. Maybe Joba shines in the playoffs and the Yankees deem him a future closer — though I doubt they’d base a major decision on a small stretch of games. They have a long-term plan, and I assume they’ll stick to it. But when it comes to the playoffs, long-term thinking goes out the window. The Yanks want to win this now, and given how they’ve pitched, going with Gaudin (or, really, Gaudin and Aceves) is the right call.

Categories : Pitching
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For the second straight night the Yankees starting pitcher has struggled and left the game before completing five innings. Not that either would have remotely qualified for the win. On Friday CC allowed nine runs, five earned, through 2.2 innings, and last night Pettitte allowed five, three earned, in a slightly longer span, 4.1 innings. The offense could plate only three runs, and the game amounted to another loss.

Pettitte’s command was not there last night. He had trouble spotting pitches, and that led to general wildness. He threw just 54 of his 95 pitches (57%) for strikes, which is below his season average of 61 percent and even further below his second-half average of 63 percent. It led to four walks, and three of those runners scored — though the last two were because of Al Aceves‘s errant throw.

It wasn’t what the Yanks were looking for from Pettitte, but then again this was just a start to stay in rhythm. No one likes it that Pettitte didn’t pitch well, but as far as next week is concerned, it means nothing. Everything starts anew then, and Pettitte will come into his first playoff start well rested. The Yanks will need him to play a big role in every series.

After the throwing error, Aceves worked a perfect 2.1 innings of relief, striking out three Rays. Gaudin followed that with 1.1 innings of one-hit ball, striking out two Rays of his own. Aceves’s spot on the postseason roster is a lock, and Gaudin’s performance, combined with his efforts in the rotation this month, should earn him a long look. He, Brian Bruney, and Joba Chamberlain are vying for what could be just one roster spot.

On the offensive side, the Yanks put on 12 baserunners, which is not a bad total, but could bring only three around to score. This was the product of a 3 for 11 mark with runners in scoring position. With a version of the B or even C lineup in, it’s tough to expect more. Matsui and Swisher were the only regulars without a hit, though Swisher drew a walk.

Just one more game to go. A.J. Burnett gets his last tune-up under acting manager Jorge Posada tomorrow afternoon. It’d be nice to see the regulars get in some hits and finish the season with a win, but if they don’t? Meh.

Categories : Game Stories
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Every time Chad Gaudin and Joba Chamberalin take the mound this month, they are auditioning for the Yankees. They aren’t really trying out for much beyond two post-season starts, but these outings constitute auditions nonetheless. After two solid outings from both pitchers over the last four games, the Yanks’ fourth starter picture remains cloudy.

Joba, as we know, has been bad. After three strong starts to begin the season’s second half, he is now 5-4 with a 5.37 ERA after the All-Star Break. In 63.2 innings, he has given up 30 walks and 63 hits while striking out 51.

After a series of horrendous outings in late August and early September, Joba seemed to turn it around on Friday when he went 6 innings in a win. He allowed three earned runs on five hits while walking just one and striking out five. More important, however, was Joba’s opponent, as he seemingly broke out of his slump against the Red Sox, a potential ALCS enemy of the Yanks.

Meanwhile, Chad Gaudin has been more than serviceable as the team’s fifth starter since coming to the Yanks. He has made six starts and has thrown 32 innings. While Joe Girardi has kept him on a short leash, Gaudin hasn’t lost as a Yankee starter and owns a win. In those innings, he has given up 28 hits and 15 walks while striking out 23. His ERA as a Yankee starter is 3.09.

Yesterday, Gaudin did what he had to do in his audition. Against a weak Royals team, he went 6.2 innings and gave up a pair of runs on four hits, two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 57 of 92 pitches for strikes and generally coasted through the game.

In one sense, this past weekend did nothing to illuminate the Yanks’ pitching plans going forward. As soon as Detroit or the Twins clinch the Central, the Yanks will opt for the longer ALDS, and the fourth starter issue won’t come to a head unless and until the Yanks reach the American League Championship Series. Even then, we’ve burned a lot of pixels arguing over which pitcher stands to make two or perhaps three postseason starts.

Yet, in a way, this issue is important for Joba Chamberlain. If the Yanks are confident in Joba’s abilities and his arm strength, they will give him the ball. He has, after all, been the fourth starter for the entire 2009 season. He has stayed healthy and has generally given the Yanks a chance to win games. After all, the Yanks are 20-10 in his games. But the Bombers are undefeated in Gaudin’s six starts, and the team won’t overlook that fact either.

Right now, I have no answer, and when we have no answer, we do what bloggers do best: We poll the audience. So as we count down the hours until tonight’s Yankee game, riddle me this one. I voted for Joba, but I don’t think the Yanks could make a wrong choice here.

Who would you name as the Yanks' fourth starter in the playoffs?
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Categories : Playoffs, Polls
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Last night the Yanks played the first of six meaningless games to wrap up the season. I’ve heard fans gripe about this and that meaningless game in May, but that’s not truly meaningless. It’s just that the payoff is so far down the road that you can’t see it yet. These games, they’re meaningless. The organization meets tomorrow to hash out the ALDS roster; in other words, they’re not even going take these games into consideration when deciding the postseason roster.

For some players it means a tune-up for the postseason. For others, like most of the Yankees starting lineup last night, it’s an opportunity to get some big league at bats. All but one of the starters took advantage. Juan Miranda sat out the hit party, but each of the other Yankees starters, from Gardner down to Pena, collected at least one hit. The Yanks put 15 men on base, pummeling the Royals in an 8-2 win.

Chad Gaudin did his job and then some. He allowed just six baserunners through six and two-thirds, which resulted in just two runs. In the only real jam he faced in the evening, second and third with one out in the fifth, he escaped after allowing just one run, a sac fly. That was the last time a runner would reach scoring position for the Royals. Damaso Marte and Al Aceves got the final seven outs without allowing another hit.

The stories of the night were on the offensive side. WIth the game tied at one in the fifth, Ramiro Pena took a big hack and sent his first career home run just beyond the right field fence. It’s been quite the year for Ramiro. He came out of nowhere in camp to win the utility infield gig, has already recorded 113 major league plate appearances, and has an outside shot of making the playoff roster. Strangely, Pena’s 2 for 4 night brought his SLG up to .388, which is higher than he slugged in AAA this year (.327) and AA last year (.357). Hopefully some asshole won’t demand a ransom for the ball.

The other offensive moment came in the seventh. Luke Hochevar, having only thrown 73 pitches through six, came out to face the 8-9-1 hitters. Four batters later he had surrendered a run and loaded the bases for Robinson Cano. Why Trey Hillman left him in there I have no idea. But it wouldn’t take him long to regret it. Robinson Cano, who was 6 for 26 with runners in scoring position coming into the game, belted one out to right, putting the Yanks up 8-2.

It’s always nice to see the backups get their shakes. We’ll see Damon, Jeter, A-Rod, Swisher, and Teixeira will return tomorrow, but there will still be a few bench guys in there. A.J. Burnett, whose dad had successful triple-bypass surgery yesterday, will be back to take the hill against Anthony Lerew.

*Alternate title: Yanks actually maintain a six-run lead over Kansas City.

Categories : Game Stories
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