What happened to Joba Chamberlain, starting pitcher?

Per Marc Carig on Twitter yesterday, Brian Cashman was once again asked whether Joba Chamberlain would be given another chance to win a spot in the rotation. Cashman’s answer? “It’s [Chamberlain’s starting pitching repertoire] just not the same stuff.”

While Cashman has continued to assert the team’s stance that Joba will not be given the chance to start, it’s hard not to wonder whether the organization reassess the situation if spring training arrives, Andy Pettitte decides to retire, and the Yankees are faced with two glaring rotation holes heading into a season for the first time in a long time.

I fully understand the idea that the organization obviously knows quite a bit more about their own player than the fanbase does, and I know we all watched Joba struggle through his sophomore starting campaign in 2009, but doesn’t it seem incredibly premature to be pulling the plug on the idea of Joba-the-starter, especially in the Yankees’ time of need? Can the organization really have determined that Chamberlain can’t hold up to the rigors of a full season of starting pitching based on a season and a half of evidence?… Click here to read the rest

Gap Year?

A commenter on RAB last night brought up an interesting point.

Has anybody yet considered the out-of-this-world possibility that like all other franchises, it’s ok for the Yankees to have a gap year?

In the back of all our minds, I’m sure we’ve considered this. And as soon as we did, we likely got sick, annoyed, frustrated, flabbergasted, whatever. Most of us probably thought “Wasn’t 2008 the bridge year?” Yeah, I guess it was. The Yankees were only an 89 win team that year, and that was a lot considering how many people got hurt and especially considering that the magnificent combination of Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner made a combined 30 starts.

If the Yankees stand pat, as is possible, then the idea of a “bridge year” occurring again is at least a little bit likely. If I had to guess, I’d say the Yankees, as presently constituted, are a 90ish win team. The bullpen is solid and the lineup is–as always–in great shape.… Click here to read the rest

Facepalming a HOF vote

Back to BigRed’s silliness (emphasis mine):

Last year Andre Dawson was the only player voted in by the scribes. Dawson was a fine player but a tad boring. Future induction ceremonies are going to be awkward when nice players are enshrined while folks such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds perhaps remain on the outside looking in. Is that what fans want? Where is the line as we cherrypick our way through the proven cheaters and guys who merely look suspicious?

Because this is the fifth paragraph in the article, the irony in the bolded sentence isn’t yet fully appreciated.  Suffice it to say, BigRed draws that line in big red ink later on. What bothers me is BigRed’s assertion that because Dawson was a fine ballplayer but didn’t have a sense of panache, he’s somehow less worthy or not exactly celebratory. Oy. More exciting players, like Bonds and Clemens, would therefore be a better fit for the Hall, but they’re part of the “Steroid Boys”.… Click here to read the rest

Phil Hughes' OPS against in each count versus the league average

Arguably the biggest knock against Phil Hughes in 2010 — aside from giving up 8,000 home runs to the Toronto Blue Jays — was Hughes’ difficulty in putting hitters away with two strikes as the season wore on. I thought it might be instructive to look at how Phil fared with regards to OPS-against depending on the count, and compare his numbers against the league average to see where we might be able to expect improvement.

Of course, it’s important to remember that the AL average sample draws from every pitcher in the league, not just starters. If the data were broken out by starters and relievers I imagine the findings would be a bit more favorable to Hughes, given that relievers typically accumulate better stats due to the whole less-batters-faced thing.

Hughes’ OPS-against numbers in the various two-strike counts were slightly better than I’d expected, though his cumulative two-strike OPS-against was .568, compared to a league average of .531. Not great, although not atrocious.… Click here to read the rest

Catching up with Matt Sosnick

IIATMS: Nolasco has been in the rumor mill for a while now and has reportedly been attracting a great deal of interest. Now, with his three year deal, he’ll be able to focus on remaining in FLA and less worrying about being traded. Was this deal more about security or more about Nolasco’s desire to remain in Florida, where clearly, there’s a bit of uncertainty about spending?

  • MS: Nolasco’s deal was about both. He is very comfortable in Florida and believes the organization is going in the right direction. He also understands that he was still under team control for two more years, so the deal provides a nice guarantee for a guy who had a bit of a freak injury at the end of the year and understands the value of a guarantee. The security, combined with the comfort and familiarity of south Florida made this deal work.

IIATMS: One of your most exciting players, Kyle Blanks (with me and my boys in the picture to the right), had a very rough 2010 with a slow start followed by Tommy John surgery.… Click here to read the rest

Managing Risk As A GM (The Greinke Situation)

A hot topic amongst Yankees fans over the last few days has been the mental state of Zack Greinke and his ability to handle New York. Many contended that his Social Anxiety Disorder made him a lock to melt down in New York, an assumption that is simply ignorant of the many contours of the human psyche. Having social anxiety disorder does not necessarily mean that you shy away from added attention or that you will have performance anxiety in more stressful situations. Some people who know Greinke, such as Joe Posnanski, thought that Greinke would thrive in a place like New York.

However, the argument at the other extreme, that Greinke’s condition is irrelevant and should not enter the calculus of a team targeting him on the trade market, was equally presumptive and short-sighted. Tim Marchman put it well:

One paradoxical effect of well intentioned efforts to treat mental illness as something that doesn’t deserve any special stigma is that it ends up being treated as something other than an illness.

Click here to read the rest

Top (or really, bottom) 10 least valuable Yankees of the last 10 seasons

Back in the “Save Phil Hughes” days I once ran a post in which I tried to determine “The crappiest 25-man Yankee roster of all time,” which is always a fun way to kill some time on a slow Hot Stove day. The roster I ended up with — while entertaining — doesn’t appear to be based on anything other than my memory of how bad the respective players were, so I wanted to see statistically who the least valuable Yankees of the last 10 seasons actually were. Thankfully Fangraphs allows us to do so rather easily. There’s no minimum PA needed to rank on this list; I’m simply looking at the players who accumulated the worst fWAR during their Yankee tenure.

And the dishonor goes to:

wOBA fWAR
Tony Womack .261 -2.3
Enrique Wilson .257 -2.1
Bubba Crosby .259 -1.0
Andy Phillips .292 -1.0
Gerald Williams .192 -0.9
Craig Wilson .265 -0.8
Todd Greene .231 -0.8
Matt Lawton .249 -0.7
Wil Nieves .161 -0.7
Alberto Gonzalez .179 -0.7

Heh.… Click here to read the rest

What would a two-slot spring training rotation battle look like?

If Andy Pettitte does not resign, the Yankees are currently set up to enter spring training with two open rotation spots. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember that ever being the case on the modern Yankees. Even in 2008, when the Yankees attempted to use Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and later Joba Chamberlain all in the rotation, the plan was set from the start. If the Yankees decide to go into spring training with their current roster, it’ll really be a rare sight, and pretty interesting too from an objective standpoint.

Luckily for the Yankees, the team does have a lot of options. An exhaustive list at this point probably includes Ivan Nova, David Phelps, Sergio Mitre, Joba Chamberlain, D.J. Mitchell, Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances, Hector Noesi, Adam Warren, and Romulo Sanchez, plus whatever minor league contracts the Yankees bring in to audition.

Right off the bat, I think the Yankees will value some stability by immediately promising one job to Ivan Nova.… Click here to read the rest