Discussion: What Would You Give Up For An Astros Pitcher?

At some point during this season, the Yankees are going to look to upgrade the back end of their rotation. One or two of Hughes, Nova, Colon, Garcia, Millwood, or the minor league crew may evolve into an acceptable option behind C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, but the Yankees will surely at least explore the trade market for better options. Yesterday, MLB Trade Rumors pointed out two potential options from the Houston Astros:

  • Wandy Rodriguez, SP: Up to $38.3MM owed through 2014.  Since Wandy is paid only $7MM this year, he’d fit into most contenders’ 2011 budgets.  His ’13 club option becomes a player option with a trade, the salary of which is reflected in the $38.3MM figure.  If the 32-year-old is in the midst of a disappointing but not terrible season, the Astros could have a way of getting out of the contract.  If he’s pitching well, the Astros could get solid players in return.
  • Brett Myers, SP: $16.3MM owed through 2012; could become $23.3MM through 2013 if option vests. 
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What are the alternatives to Brett Gardner?

Image Credit

Last night was another rough night for Brett Gardner. He went 0-4, including a failed sac bunt, and looked pretty bad doing so. On that failed sac bunt…I think it’s safe to say that it’s time to halt the Brett Gardner as bunter experiment. The Yankees have been trying to get him to do it well since last year and it’s just not working. Gardner clearly doesn’t possess the skill to bunt and the Yankees need to stop forcing it. Gardner has shown that, if nothing else, he’s able to work the occasional walk and that’s more valuable than dropping down a crappy bunt every now and again. I say let him take his pitches and work his way on that way. But….

Gardner just isn’t hitting right now. He’s also not doing the whole base stealing thing, either. And, as mentioned before, the bunting isn’t there. So, what can the Yankees do if this continues? They’ve already done one thing, and that’s to drop Gardner back down to a low spot in the lineup.… Click here to read the rest

Stop the (bullpen) madness.

For one thing, sooner or later it is going to bite him. Relievers can be volatile things and there’s no way to know what days are the days when they’re simply not going to have their best stuff. In a way, making pitching changes is like playing a weighted game of Russian roulette, and the more relievers you use the more chambers you’re loading. I’m not advocating for a Torre-esque strategy of riding the hot middle relief arm until it falls off by any means, but once a guy is in the game there’s no real reason to remove him until you have to if he’s pitching well. That’s true of both Robertson and Joba last night, both of whom threw just 11 pitches in getting 5 total outs (3 of them via strikeout) and allowing no base runners.

But another, more ominous problem is the more straight-forward one; this strategy is putting a lot of stress on the back end of the bullpen.… Click here to read the rest

Rivera blows first save of the season, Yankees lose in the 10th

I need to be careful when I boast. In yesterday´s open thread I pointed out Mariano Rivera´s incredible start to the season. In Tuesday night´s game the greatest reliever of all time allowed his first runs of the season, walked his first batter of the season and blew his first save of the season. We all know he´ll do these things every year. It´s just that there are moments when it genuinely seems as though Mo will go the entire year without giving up a run, or walking a batter.

A.J. Burnett was frustrating in this one, but kept the Yankees in the game. He allowed only three runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings of work, but walked six on 105 pitches. He left in the sixth with the bases loaded and the Yankees clinging to a 4-3 lead that looked tenuous at best. David Robertson came on and did his Houdini routine to hold the lead. He struck out both batters he faced on eleven pitches, nine of them strikes.… Click here to read the rest

Game 15: Yankees 5, Blue Jays 6

The score stayed tied until the Yankees broke through again in the sixth. Curtis Granderson started the inning with a single. Mark Teixeira followed with a two run homer to center. Robinson Cano singled to right, and Chavez drew a one out walk.  Posada grounded out, moving the runners to second and third.  Martin walked, leaving the bases loaded for Brett Gardner who flew out to left to end the inning.  The Yankees had a 4-2 lead, but had missed a chance to blow the game open.

Hill started the bottom of the inning with a single and stole second, injuring himself on the play, leading Toronto to bring in John McDonald in to pinch run.  Corey Patterson walked and Edwin Encarnacion double to left, scoring McDonald.  Jayson Nix walked and the Yankees called on David Robertson to get them out of trouble.  With runners on second and third and just one out, Robertson managed to strike out Yunel Escobar and Travis Snider to preserve the 4-3 New York lead. … Click here to read the rest

Swinging With Doc Halladay

WAR ’06-’10

Contact % |

Roy Halladay 81.6% 32.7
C.C. Sabathia 76.1% 31.6
Dan Haren 78.5% 26.0
Justin Verlander 80.0% 25.1
Felix Hernandez 78.7% 24.6
Tim Lincecum 75.0% 24.0
Cliff Lee 84.0% 23.5
Johan Santana 76.8% 22.9
Zack Greinke 79.7% 22.2
John Lackey 81.0% 21.5

Chip’s chart:

Name Contact % K/9 ERA FIP xFIP
Cole Hamels 74.9% 8.54 (5) 3.54 (14T) 3.77 (19) 3.51 (7)
Tim Lincecum 74.9% 10.07 (1) 3.04 (4) 2.86 (1) 3.15 (1)
C.C. Sabathia 76.1% 8.00 (16) 3.13 (5) 3.25 (4) 3.49 (6)
Johan Santana 76.8% 8.34 (8) 2.93 (1T) 3.52 (10) 3.61 (11)
Jake Peavy 77.1% 9.18 (2) 3.39 (10) 3.34 (6) 3.56 (9)
Javier Vazquez 77.1% 8.57 (4) 4.24 (38) 3.85 (22) 3.71 (15)
Scott Kazmir 77.3% 8.74 (3) 4.16 (33) 4.20 (34) 4.25 (33)
Chad Billingsley 78.0% 8.14 (12) 3.51 (12) 3.72 (16) 3.98 (27)
Jered Weaver 78.2% 7.82 (19) 3.55 (16) 3.75 (17) 4.12 (29)
Ubaldo Jimenez 78.4% 8.11 (14) 3.54 (14T) 3.59 (13) 3.87 (19)

The main reason for comparing these charts is that when commentators speak of active pitchers who personify the wisdom of “pitching to contact,” they will almost always turn to Cliff Lee and Doc Halladay as examples.  … Click here to read the rest

Have the Yankees been Getting Lucky with their Home Runs?

EJ’s breakdown of the Yankee offense so far shows us pretty much what we would have expected: the Yankees are crushing home runs at an exceptional pace, but otherwise have been fairly pedestrian as far as getting hits and drawing walks are concerned.  EJ also singles out the Yankees’ home run per fly ball percentage of 20% as fairly high (which it is) and likely due for some regression.  That statement made me curious about the types of home runs that the Yankees have been hitting, to see whether they have been getting a disproportionate number of lucky breaks that just got out, or whether they have been hitting legitimate home runs.

Fortunately, Hit Tracker has all the data I need, so I can look at each of the 27 homers the Yankee players have hit this season.  Hit Tracker categorizes home runs into 4 categories:

Lucky: “A home run that would not have cleared the fence if it has been struck on a 70-degree, calm day.”

Just Enough: “Means the ball cleared the fence by less than 10 vertical feet, OR that it landed less than one fence height past the fence.… Click here to read the rest

Feliciano Avoids Surgery, Boone Logan is our Man


Word came in yesterday that Pedro Feliciano will avoid having surgery and undergo a “conservative shoulder strengthening program” for the next 6 weeks. Originally it was thought Dr. James Andrews would concur and recommend season ending shoulder surgery for the lefty specialist so this comes as a bit of a surprise.

I would still seriously doubt the Yankees ever see him in a game this season though. For now the Yankees will have to go forward with Boone Logan. Looking at just his overall career numbers, one can get pretty frightened. For instance last season he had a gaudy 2.93 ERA but his FIP was 3.73, experienced the best BABIP of his career and had a fluky HR/FB% while still walking 4.5 batters per 9 innings.

Sounds awful. Look at his career splits though.

See the problem here? Look at the innings! They keep using him against right handed batters, which is baffling. Even Girardi last year used him for 22.1 innings against lefties but 17.2 INNINGS AGAINST RIGHT HANDED HITTERS.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees vs. Blue Jays I: Oh, it's you again

Jose Bautista circling the bases during one of the 300,000 home runs he hit against the Yankees in 2010 (photo c/o The Toronto Sun)

The Yankees head up to Toronto to face their most annoying foe of the 2010 season (for some people that distinction might go to Tampa Bay, but at least the Rays were a playoff-bound team last year). Toronto was one of only two teams — along with Tampa Bay —  to notch 10 wins against the Yankees last season, and their ridiculously annoying penchant for hitting two-baggers (27 doubles in 18 games) and home runs (33) against the Yankees last season led me to sardonically dub them The Toronto Extra-Base Hits. Combined with a slew of top-notch pitching performances — led by soft-tossing lefty Brett Cecil, who went 4-0 against the Yankees last season and led all of baseball with four wins against the Bombers in 2010 — the Jays wound up being a pain in the neck each and every time the Yankees faced them.… Click here to read the rest