Open Thread: A new deal for D-Ras

Remember Darrell Rasner? How could you forget. Claimed off waivers from the Nationals back in 2006, Rasner went on the make a total 30 starts and 11 relief appearances for the Yankees over a three year span. During the disaster of 2008, he threw 113.1 innings with a 5.40 ERA, striking out only 5.3 batters per nine. It was by far the most big league action of his career.

Rasner sought employment in Japan after that season, so the Yankees helped him out by selling his rights to Rakuten Golden Eagles for a cool million bucks. The move across the Pacific allowed Rasner to make more money than he would have been able to here (his two-year deal with Rakuten guaranteed him $1.2M and could have been worth up to $3.5M), so it was an obvious move for him. In the two years since, he’s pitched to a 5.09 ERA with a 170-81 K/BB ratio in 233.2 innings, and apparently that was good enough for him to keep his job. The great NPB Tracker reports that Rakuten and Rasner just agreed on a new contract, a one-year deal with an option for 2012. No idea what the money is like, but either way it’s good to see him still pitching and making some bucks. Dude’s got a wife and (at least) two kids to take care of.

Anyway, here’s the open thread for the night. The Rangers and Devils are playing each other, and both the Knicks and Nets are in action as well. Chat about that here, or anything else your heart desires.

Open Thread: Rasner hits the Pacific League

As Saturday night dawns on the East Coast, the Yankees have made a minor move this evening. Not quite content with Darrell Rasner’s performance last season, the Bombers have, at the right-hander’s request, sold him to Japan.

The Yanks are getting $1 million, and in return, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League will sign the former Major Leaguer to a two-year deal. In 2008, Rasner made 24 painful appearances — 20 of which were starts — filling in for various injured and demoted members of the Yankee rotation. He went 5-10 with a 1.54 WHIP and a 5.40 ERA. Opponents hit .293/.354/.454 against him.

Fun trivia fact about Rasner: His last Major League win came on July 12. Ouch.

For Yankee fans, this ensures us no Darrell Rasner appearances next year. I’ll feel a lot better when Sidney Ponson is shipped to Japan too.

Meanwhile, use this as your open thread. Discuss the Hot Stove League, the college football games or whatever else comes to mind. Just play nice.

Questions about the upcoming rotation

It looks like today’s off-day will not be used to skip one of the current starters. The Yanks will trot out Mike Mussina on Tuesday, Sidney Ponson on Wednesday, and Andy Pettitte on Thursday to face the Red Sox. Sure, they could tell Sidney to take a day off, slide Pettitte into his spot, and pitch Pavano on Thursday. But is that any better? After all, Sidney tends to do well in his start after being blown out.

The real rotation issues actually begin on Saturday. This will be Darrell Rasner’s next start. He’s faced Toronto twice this year, each time coming up with at least acceptable results. So do you give him another shot? Or do you turn to Phil Hughes or Alfredo Aceves?

It’s not an easy question to answer. Aceves might seem attractive after last night’s performance, but is he ready for The Show? Hughes has been uninspiring his past two times out, but could eight days of rest cure what ails him? These are questions the Yanks will ask over the course of the week. The results against the Red Sox could play a large role in that decision.

Let’s toss this one up to the comments. Do you take a risk with Hughes and Aceves, hoping that they can piece together a few good starts in September? Or do you give Rasner the ball again and give those two another start in AAA?

Rasner regresses

Until the Yankees rolled into Oakland, Darrell Rasner had been dealing. In six starts covering 38.1 innings, the righty had allowed 36 hits and five walks while striking out 23 and pitching to a 2.38 ERA.

The wheels, however, came off in a big way last night. Rasner lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up seven runs, six earned, on nine hits. He walked one while striking out four, and his ERA jumped over a run to 3.64. The A’s basically went to town on Rasner.

Now, there are two ways to look at last night. One is to say that Rasner was bound to have a bad start. Following that outing, his 2008 totals aren’t that far off from his career line. But the way he reached that regression I find to be interesting.

Prior to last night, Rasner had thrown 386 out of 585 pitches — or 66 percent — for strikes. Of those, 63 percent were strikes with contact either on foul balls or balls put into play; nine percent were swinging strikes; and the remainder — 28 percent — were called strikes.

Last night, Rasner’s strike totals were actually in line with his season totals. While he threw just 62.4 percent of his pitches for strikes, 45 percent of those were called strikes while about 7.5 percent were swinging strikes. The contact strikes and balls in play made up the rest of those numbers.

So what do we learn here? Rasner got into trouble last night because he could not locate his pitches. During the endless third inning in which the A’s hit everything Rasner had to offer, his pitches, usually on the corner, were straying to the middle of the plate. I think the higher percentage of called strikes attests to that. Rasner couldn’t push the pitches far enough to the corners, and the A’s were hitting solid line drives off the righty.

With Ian Kennedy on the mend and the Yanks much higher on Kennedy than they are on Rasner, it will be interesting to see how Rasner adjusts over the next few weeks. If the Yanks opt to stick with a five-man rotation, he’ll draw the weak-hitting Padres on Tuesday and the Reds on Sunday. Beyond that, we’ll have a better idea of Rasner’s stuff and ability.

Hughes down, Rasner up

I’m not sure if Mike or Ben has anything planned for an overnight. But Rasner will jump in the rotation for the disabled Phil Hughes on Sunday. As I said in the game thread, this is the second time in a year — almost to the day — that I’ve been set to see Hughes pitch on a Sunday, only to have him get injured. And yes, Rasner was his replacement last time, too.

So I guess that solves the whole “does he get sent down” question. You have to figure he’ll make at least two rehab starts before returning.

Rasner coming back

From the Nevada Appeal:

Darrell Rasner Sr., Rasner’s father, said his son will resign with the Yankees. By not tendering a 2008 contract to Rasner, the Yankees will be able to remove Rasner from their 40-man roster.

But Rasner will still be invited to the Yankees Spring Training with a chance to make the 2008 Major League roster. Rasner’s father said his son will be given the chance to make the Big League club as a spot starter and long reliever.

Good news. Rasner wasn’t flashy, but he was pretty darn effective early last year before going down with a finger injury. He’s well-suited for a spot starter/long relief role (he throws strikes and keeps the ball in the park), and is a nice guy to have ready to go at the upper levels.

hat tip to commenter steve (a different one)