Contemplating the 2011 Rotation

There are a few ways the 2010 Yankee pitching rotation could end up. Let’s run ’em down. Disclaimer: I’m not including Javier Vazquez in any of these plans. I think there’s literally a 0.0% chance he is with the Yankees after 2010.

First, there’s this one:

CC Sabathia/Cliff Lee/A.J. Burnett/Andy Pettitte/Phil Hughes

That’d is probably the most desirable rotation out there. It’s got two of the best lefties in the game, a flame throwing (but inconsistent) right hander with a devastating curveball, a veteran lefty who can pitch a good amount of innings, and a young righty with plenty of upside. It will be hard for any team to top this hypothetical rotation.

Then, there’s the possibility that the Yankees sign Cliff Lee, but Andy Pettitte retires. In that case, everyone moves up, and there’s a hole in the fifth spot. In that case, I’d imagine we’ll see another competition for the fifth starter’s spot. I’m sure Ivan Nova would be involved in that and, hopefully, Joba Chamberlain would be as well.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview: Yankees vs. White Sox II

The Yankees (78-49, tied for first in the AL East) head to Chicago (69-58, 2nd in the AL Central) for the first and only time this season, as they face the White Sox in their last AL Central series of the year. Last time these two teams squared off was the end of April/beginning of May, and the Yankees took two of three at home. The lone loss was a Home Run Javy special, although Andy Pettitte might have lost his start as well if he hadn’t been bailed out by what may have been Derek Jeter‘s biggest game of the year. Phil Hughes, who won’t pitch this weekend, had the best outing of the weekend against the ChiSox. In fact, none of the pitchers the Yankees threw against the Sox last time out will be facing them this time around.

Though the White Sox almost certainly think they’re still in the playoff hunt, barring a Minnesota collapse there’s little chance they’ll make it.… Click here to read the rest

If Andy has setback, expect targeting Kuroda

Could his next uniform be pinstriped?

There was a level of panic being promulgated by the local newspapers yesterday surrounding Andy Pettitte’s scheduled bullpen session today. Some of it was sparked by this quote from Joe Girardi:

If Pettitte passes a bullpen test tomorrow in Chicago, the Yankees can start planning on when the veteran lefty will return from the disabled list. If the groin doesn’t allow Pettitte to push off the rubber? How about a dark October?

“I think it will be a good indication,” manager Joe Girardi said of what Pettitte is able to do in the 20- to 25-pitch session. “If he is able to push off [it will be good]. If not, that would be a pretty big setback.

Try a killer setback.

The timing of getting Andy back would be tight, but not impossible. Looking at the schedule, the playoffs start roughly 6 weeks after today’s bullpen session, so a 2 week rest you still have a month to get in rehab and a start or two.… Click here to read the rest

Chicago White Sox Preview 8/27-8/29

The White Sox pitchers have the lowest overall FIP in the AL at 3.83.  They seem to have strong numbers both in the starting rotation and in relief.  The starters combine for an ERA 4.04 and FIP of 3.86, while the relievers combine for an ERA and FIP of 3.76.  White Sox pitching’s BABIP, however, is tied for third highest in the AL at .306.

John Danks is holding opposing hitters to a .230 average, while Freddy Garcia has struggled, giving up a .290 average to opponents.  Danks and Gavin Floyd have both racked up the strikeouts this season, with 130 and 135 respectively.

The White Sox have lost some of their most dependable relievers to injury this month.  J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton have had solid seasons for Chicago, each with an ERA and FIP below 2.70 over 47 innings of work.  Bobby Jenks, Tony Pena and Scott Linebrink have been the other big arms out of the bullpen, but they have not been as successful as Putz or Thornton, with ERAs of 4.40, 5.48 and 4.36 respectively, although Jenks FIP is significantly lower (2.62).… Click here to read the rest

Revenue Sharing Is Dead

The Pirates have been so profitable that they’ve created substantial income tax liabilities for their investors.  The Pirates’ solution to this problem has been to transfer a portion of its profits to these investors to cover their tax costs.  This is one illustration of how revenue sharing works: it serves both to create profits for teams that cannot win on the field, and to create the need for cash to be transferred outside of baseball to cover tax liabilities that exist only because of the profits created by revenue sharing.

We’ll need to parse the numbers later, but it appears that some of the teams receiving revenue sharing (in particular, the Marlins) may be more profitable than teams like the Yankees and Red Sox that fund the revenue sharing system.

Given the information disclosed in these documents, the existing system of revenue sharing will not survive next year’s expiration of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.  This is not just my conclusion; this is the conclusion of Jayson Stark at … Click here to read the rest

Kerry On

The following was originally posted at

It’s been a long time since Kerry Wood struck out twenty as a Chicago Cub.

A long time, filled with injuries and disappointments and ultimately relegation to bullpen duty. Many point to Wood’s struggles, and that of another one-time Chicago Cub, Mark Prior, in being the impetus towards today’s obsession with young pitchers and doing everything possible shy of actual bubble wrap to protect them (see “Strasburg, Stephen” and “Joba Rules” (the latter under 2007/2008 entries) ).

It’s been a long time and I’m not sure how many ever thought he’d find himself playing for the Yankees–certainly not as a late inning reliever, and one fourth on the pecking order, after Mariano, Robertson and Joba–and yet, here his is, quickly becoming Cashman’s best mid-season acquisition of the year.

Just think about where the Yankees’ bullpen was before the deadline: outside of Mariano, and possibly Robertson, there was perhaps no one in whom Yankee fans had much faith.… Click here to read the rest

If the 1998 Yankees played in 2009?

During a recent broadcast Paul O’Neill said something that intrigued me. He was talking to Michael Kay when Kay mentioned that Brian Cashman believes the Yankees struggle to sign veteran bench players because the team’s roster is set at so many positions so the veterans feel they wouldn’t get enough playing time to be productive. O’Neill said he thought that was odd because the late 90’s teams had so many productive veterans, even though the roster was fairly complete.

My impression of the 1998 team has always been that it had dominant pitching and an evenly distributed, deadly from top-to-bottom lineup. The results speak for themselves, but this all got me wondering what a similarly talented team would look like today, specifically if it had played in 2009, the last season with complete data.
Even years later, the 1998 team continues to intrigue me. I remember watching Sports Center just before that season began and hearing Peter Gammons predict that no one would stop the Yankees, 0r even come close.
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Why Joe Girardi Is Not Going Anywhere

In anticipation of the Yankees upcoming trip to Chicago and in conjunction with the recent retirement of Cubs skipper Lou Pinella, the media has been playing up the idea that Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi might bolt for Chicago after the season is over. While I cannot dismiss the idea as an impossibility, I do think that it is extremely unlikely that Joe leaves New York.

When a player or manager leaves one city for another, it is usually for one of four reasons. Let’s run through them and look at where New York and Chicago place in each category:

1) Money: The most frequent reason for employee movement tends to be that the new city is offering more cash than the old. While the Cubs certainly have the money to offer Joe a competitive contract, I have a hard time believing they can outbid the Yankees for his services. If the Yankees want Joe back, and barring an epic collapse I would assume that they will, their offer is likely to be the largest he receives.… Click here to read the rest

Javy the Reliever

Javier Vazquez took over for Phil Hughes last night, pitching the last 4.1 innings, giving up just one run (on a homer, of course) on two hits and one walk with two strikeouts. With Ivan Nova’s successful first Major League start the other night, it appears that we’re going to see Vazquez in the bullpen for the foreseeable future. Javy is talented enough to succeed in the bullpen. After all, he’s been one of the most durable and consistent starters of the last decade or so.

Of course, Javy isn’t the typical reliever. It’s been well documented that he’s lost zip on his fastball, which is something undesirable for a pitcher going out of the bullpen. This is something that we could see hurt Javy the reliever. After all, we always want a reliever to come out Kerry Wood style and just blow it by guys. With Javy’s decreased velocity, hitters could attack his fastball in high leverage situations and make a situation worse but…

…Javy’s starter’s pedigree gives him one thing that most relievers don’t have: a full arsenal.… Click here to read the rest