My #5 Choice: Joba Chamberlain

[image title=”Royals Yankees Baseball” size=”full” id=”15689″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]
Last week, Steve throughly and cogently argued the case for Alfredo Aceves winning the competition for the Yankees’ lone available rotation slot. Today, I present 5 reasons why I believe that Joba Chamberlain is the only logical choice for that role.

1) Joba has the highest upside: Quite simply, Joba Chamberlain has the highest ceiling of the five options. While Aceves or even Gaudin might provide more predictable performance, only Joba (and to a lesser extent, Hughes) has the capability to turn into something much greater than a 5th starter type. For a team with 4 starters that have thrown at least 200 innings more than a few times over recent years, it makes sense to go with upside over stability in that 5th starter role.
2) There is more to lose if Joba is not in the rotation: Starting Aceves rather than Joba carries a much greater risk than allowing Joba to start.… Click here to read the rest

The Dear Departed, Part One

Yesterday in the comments of Chris’s article on Brian Cashman and Kei Igawa, a discussion about whom the Yankees have traded in the past two seasons started. I’m of the opinion that with a few exceptions, the players Brian Cashman has traded have been nothing incredibly special and losing them will not hurt the team in the long term. So, let’s take a look at the last year and a half or so of Brian Cashman’s trades to see what the Yankees gave up.

Let’s start with the “deadline” deal of Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. What did the Yankees give up here? With the exception of Tabata, nothing special. Though Ohlendorf pitched well for the Pirates in 2009, he would not have played a big role for the 2009 Yankees and likely would have had just as small a role for the 2010 Yankees. Karstens did poorly in 39 games–13 starts–with the Bucs.… Click here to read the rest

Rays financial condition worsens; How to fix it?

Last year, small-market teams received $450 million from revenue sharing.

I think it’s going to be difficult to get approval to increase that number, because the wealthier teams — the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, etc. — kick in 90 percent of the total amount and are wary of giving up more. Plus, the Players Association is concerned that some of the teams receiving the money are not using it to improve their teams, instead using it to enhance their bottom lines.

So how do we fix this problem?  Clearly, a salary cap is impossible because there also needs to be a floor.  I’ve yet to see a coherent, fiscally rational and logical plan to enact a salary cap in baseball…that would be acceptable (or even one worth being considered) by the Union.  The NFL model won’t work here.  And I still hold to another one of  my mantras: “You can’t complain unless you offer up a solution.

So how does MLB fix this? … Click here to read the rest

“All of them go to the pen”

Pitching Coach Dave Eiland addressed the notion that Phil Hughes would be sent to AAA if he doesn’t land the #5 spot in a recent YES interview. Here’s the quote:

Joe Auriemma-“You came into spring training with a really solid staff, very deep. What can you can about having that good problem of having all of these good starting pitchers being able to compete for that 5th spot and ultimately possibly moving them into a bullpen strengthening role “

Dave Eiland-“Well, yeah, you just said it. It’s a tough decision, but a good one to have. The 4 guys that don’t make it, most of them .  . ALL of them will go down to the bullpen. That will make our bullpen that much better, and the guy that wins the 5th spot deserves it. It’s really a no lose situation for our team and organization. “

He also took exception when a question was posed that made the 5th starter competition sound like a 2 horse race between Hughes and Joba, saying “those other 3 guys are more than ‘in the mix’ ” as the interviewer stated and “it’s not a 2 horse race”.… Click here to read the rest

Morning link dump

A few worthwhile links to start your Tuesday morning off:

RAB’s prolific Joe P. (does the man ever sleep?) ponders whether Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves are actually making cases for the fifth starter slot.

Steven Goldman at the Pinstriped Bible explores Andy Pettitte’s HOF case, something that Mike looked at back in early January.

Jay and Matt at Fack Youk are spearheading the campaign to get Kevin Youkilis to shave his unsightly facial hair.

BBD dismisses yet another overblown A-Rod “scandal.”Click here to read the rest

Brett Gardner’s great base running

Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record caught up with Brett Gardner after yesterday’s game against the Twins at Hammond Field – a game in which Gardner bunted for a single and subsequently outran a pickle between first and second (he got back to first safely) – and, naturally, the conversation the turned to Gardner’s productive base running.

“I don’t like getting out when I’m hitting, but… stealing bases, I take a lot of pride in,” said Gardner. “You don’t want to just go out there and run. You’ve got to know who’s on the mound, know who’s at the plate and try to pick your spots.” While Gardner was referring solely to his love of the stolen base in that comment to Caldera, in general, he was just an effective base runner while on base last year, advancing when he had to on balls on the ground, in the air, past the catcher, etc. Though I have discussed his stellar speed score in the past, another number, Gardner’s EqBRR – a value that measures a player’s base running contributions in runs – is certainly worth noting.… Click here to read the rest

Vazquez Mixes It Up In First Spring Start

From Ben Shpigel:

By the end of Vazquez’s two-inning outing, it was practically forgotten because of another pitch – a changeup that Chase Utley flailed at for Strike 3. That pitch is what Manager Joe Girardi will take away from Vazquez’s debut, a game the Yankees won, 7-5.

“That was as good a changeup as I’ve seen all spring,” Girardi said, adding, “It’s early for the hitters, too, but it was an outstanding changeup.”

Vazquez has thrown a curveball and a changeup for many years, but he returns to the Yankees armed with a slider. All three pitches are vital to Vazquez’s success now that he no longer relies on his fastball. “I’ve been a little stubborn in the past,” said Vazquez, who added that he still has a lot of confidence in his fastball.

This touches upon the change in Javy’s style that we discussed a few days ago:

The percentage of pitches that Vazquez throws as fastballs has been trending downward for his entire career, and dipped below 50% for the first time in 2009.

Click here to read the rest

I wish this passed the sniff test *UPDATED*

  1. Anti-inflammatories include: Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Aleve
  2. In other words, why go to a Canadian doctor to get the same stuff you can get in your corner drug story or CVS?
  3. Why didn’t he contact his surgeon to report the inflammation?
  4. Wouldn’t his surgeon been able to prescribe an anti-inflammatory, if necessary?
  5. Wouldn’t his surgeon have been able to recommend a doctor that was local to ARod who could see him in person?
  6. Wouldn’t the Yankees medical team been able to help?

Look, all I want for ARod is an incident-free existance. Unfortunately, that seems impossible.  Stop doing and saying dumb things, will ya?  If something hurts, go see the team docs and if approved, your physican. Stop traipsing around to see foreign doctors for things you can get over-the-counter…unless that’s not all you were getting.

Sorry, there’s a trail of stink here and I don’t like it one bit.

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There’s an update I need to make. I was looking for Dr.… Click here to read the rest