Is Robertson The Next Yankee Closer?

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Mike Silva raised an interesting point this morning, one that often gets overlooked in all the hullabaloo around Joba and Hughes:

Everyone talks about Joba Chamberlain as the “heir apparent” but Robertson should be just as much in the conversation. If he qualified his 12.98 K/9 would be second to only Jonathan Broxton last season. The one thing he needs to work on is his command, but that hasn’t stopped K-Rod (4.1 BB/9) from carving out a great career as a closer…..
Look, no one will ever replace Mariano Rivera. There is also no indication he is ready to retire or hang it up. At some point, unless he isn’t human, there will be a need for someone else to take the reins. Even if he is still around perhaps a break would be necessary from time to time. If you want him to pitch two innings every postseason you might need to pace him during the regular season.

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As longtime readers know, baseball is my one and only love when it comes to sports. However, as a teenager growing up in Manhattan in the mid-90s, I, like many of my peers, fell in love with the Pat Ewing/Charles Oakley/John Starks/Derek Harper/Charles Smith Knicks teams. Unfortunately, as talented as they were they just could not get it done. I’ll never forget the 1994 NBA Finals, featuring O.J.’s white Bronco irritatingly interfering with a huge Game 5 Knicks victory, and of course, quite possibly my worst sports memory of all time, John Starks missing shot after shot after shot en route to a miserable 2-18 performance and blowing the Knicks’ best shot at a title.

The Knicks pleasantly surprised us with a return trip to the NBA Finals in 1999, but we all knew they were no match for the Spurs. After 1999, the Knicks embarked on a nightmarish 10-year downward spiral that many fans hope will finally come to end this summer if the team can land Lebron.… Click here to read the rest

“If everyone pitches great…”

“If everyone pitches great, we might run them all out again”

That’s what Yankee manager Joe Girardi said in his pregame interview when asked if the 5th starter competition would get wrapped up next week. As Chris reported yesterday they intend to wrap things up soon, but things could get extended with some big performances among the participants.

But it begs a question, one that I thought would be fun to kick around. I think we know that all things being equal, this is a 2 horse race between Joba and Hughes. Let’s assume that both of them pitch lights out in their next outing, and then again in the next run-off outing. So what were effectively doing is taking performance out of the equation, and going with who you believe is the best choice for #5 starter. I’m going to hold off on weighing in, because I don’t want to steer the debate in any particular direction. I’ll do a follow-up piece tomorrow with my choice and the reasons behind it.… Click here to read the rest

Flaherty disses A-Rod (sort of)

I’m calling it a diss, although you might disagree.

Here’s the quote in question, via Seth Livingstone of USA Today:

John Flaherty, former big-league catcher in his fifth season as a broadcaster for the YES Network, came up through the Boston Red Sox system ahead of Garciaparra and now sees Jeter and Rodriguez on a regular basis. He remembers well the discussions in the clubhouse similar to those among fans who debated the merits of the three stars.

“(Players would say) Alex might have the best all-around ability of the three — the fielding, the power, the tools scouts would see,” Flaherty says. “But then you’d go in a different direction: Who would you want on your team? Who would you want up in a big spot? Kind of throw the tools and talent out and the competition starts coming. You’d start thinking about Derek and Nomar.”

Each was different when it came to working them behind the plate.

“Nomar went up there, and you knew the first thing he saw he would let it fly,” Flaherty says.

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Yanks likely to announce 5th starter next week

Not sure if this was mentioned at some point earlier this week, but, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, Yankees skipper, Joe Girardi, “has said he would like to decide on a fifth starter by next Thursday or Friday,” meaning that it is imperative for each of the five competing starters vying for the team’s final rotation spot to make the best of their remaining opportunities (possibly one more game a piece). Basically, this is it. It’s crunch time down in Florida.

Now for a quick tangent…

When you think about it strictly from a statistical perspective, spring training “battles” – assuming there are absolutely no preconceived notions going into them – are extremely asinine. In essence, Girardi, an example here, is making a pivotal pitching decision, one with real consequences, based on a few abbreviated and meaningless outings. Now, I do not view the Yankees’ fifth starter battle as a true spring competition, as Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain have always seemed to have inside tracks, but it is still worth noting the inanity of the longstanding spring competition.… Click here to read the rest

Guest Post: Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and 2011 Free Agency: Irresponsible Speculation

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The last of our guest posts was done by (sic). Some of you might recognize him from RAB as “the artist formerly known as (sic)” or from twitter as @tafkasic, and you can read more of his work at He took a look at the 2011 free agent market and the Yankees’ place within it. It is an entertaining read that I think you will enjoy.

The 2010-2011 offseason could be one of the most exciting Hot Stove periods in recent memory for Yankees fans. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will both become free agents, and the contracts of Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez will both expire. Additionally, Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Manny Ramirez, Ted Lilly and Brandon Webb will all become free agents. Will CC and Cliff Lee stand side-by-side in pinstripes as the new New York Knick LeBron James throws out the first pitch of the 2011 season, causing the entire city of Cleveland to light itself on fire?… Click here to read the rest

Bad ideas and ludicrous statements (aka: Why people hate NYY fans)

RAB’s Joe Pawlikowski wrote the article I had been wanting to write but never got around to completing.  Well, he wrote it better than I probably would have, but nonetheless, he’s spot on:

If Mauer does hit the free agent market, though, I don’t expect the Yankees to outbid the Red Sox for him. They’ll make a play, of course, but I don’t expect them to use their resources that way. Yes, Mauer is one of the most valuable players in the game, but the Yankees have spent the past three or so years filing their farm system with catchers. After all that, why go and use an enormous portion of your resources to sign one in free agency?

As it stands, the Yankees have $144 million locked into the 2011 payroll before they work out contracts for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. They’ll also have arbitration cases for Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. In other words, they could be near $185 million for just 13 players — and that doesn’t include Javy Vazquez or Andy Pettitte.Click here to read the rest

Should The Yankees Pursue Elijah Dukes?

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(I know, terrible headline. The NY Post would be proud).
As I am sure most of you know by now, Elijah Dukes was released by the Nationals yesterday. The Nats stated clearly that Elijah had not done anything wrong in terms of behavior, and that this was purely a baseball decision. The first question on the mind of many Yankee fans was, should the Yankees pursue Dukes?

Last offseason, I felt fairly strongly that the Yankees should try and trade for Elijah:

If I were Brian Cashman, I would strongly consider swinging a deal for Dukes. The Nats have a very weak farm system, so that the Yankees may be able to put together a package of pitchers enticing enough to aquire the mercurial outfielder. He would fill the Melky Cabrera role in 2009, as he is a much better bat than Melky, is not appreciably worse in the field, and runs as well as, if not better than, Cabrera.

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