Now that A.J. is gone, who’s the new A.J.?

I am NOT going to miss him.

I don’t mean this the way you think. Time and time again during A.J. Burnett‘s rocky tenure in pinstripes it seemed like he was the missing piece. Often the Yankees were one more dominant pitcher away from being in the World Series, or found themselves with their season potentially on the line and A.J. on the mound. As a result, he was the secret ingredient helping the Yankees to advance in the playoffs or preventing them from succeeding.

A.J.’s role as the make or break player was logical. Most playoff teams have at least one dominant starter to face off against CC Sabathia. Often times the difference between the good and great teams is the second dominant starter. When Burnett could fill that role the Yankees won the World Series. Once he stopped being able to pitch well the team went out of its way to deny him playoff starts and always seemed a starter short.… Click here to read the rest

TYA Prospect Week 2012

This week at TYA, we have something special for you, ladies and gentlemen. While not every post this week will be prospect-centric, there will be myriad musings on the Yankee farmhands. Later today, E.J. will release the composite TYA Top 20 Yankee prospects, and throughout the week, we’ll have multiple roundtable discussions related to prospects.

Prospects are a reflection of what I love about the game of baseball. It’s a game of constant anticipation, and that’s the same game we play when we prospect watch. Nothing in baseball is a guarantee and that practically goes without saying when it comes to prospects. But we love it anyway. No matter how far away they are, no matter what position they play, prospects offer hope for the future that feels good in the moment, even if it doesn’t fully pan out in the end for whatever reason. Maybe that prospect busts. Maybe that prospect gets traded away. We may never actually complete the ride to the majors with them, but the portion we get to tag along for is always a blast.… Click here to read the rest

Billy Beane’s Wild Winter

Thanks to the fall release and somewhat unexpected buzz surrounding the Beane biopic, the longtime Oakland GM spent 2011 getting profiled by major media outlets and reclaiming the title “revolutionary baseball genius” he first acquired in the wake of Frank Thomas, Josh Willingham, and Rajai Davis, but his experiments with Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Ryan Sweeney, and Orlando Cabrera yielded less impressive results.

In the wake of the renewed Moneyball hoopla, Beane spent another offseason betting against the grain.

As the Hot Stove opened, the A’s projected rotation was as promising as it had been since the heady days of the “Big Three” – Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito – whose millenial dominance, it has often been observed, underscores Beane’s Moneyball success to an extent which goes largely unacknowledged by either Lewis or Sorkin. It seemed a foregone conclusion that the 2012 A’s would be fronted by similar blue chip talents – Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Brett Anderson – all of whom proved themselves capable of being premier big-league starters before they reached their mid-twenties.… Click here to read the rest

One last go round with Joba the starter

Back to 08?

I’m sure that headline elicited the standard three Joba responses. Some thinking “Yes! Finally!” while others saying “Been there, done that” and the vast majority of readers thinking “Not THIS topic AGAIN”. I can assure you that what follows isn’t a rehashing of the debate we all grew weary of from a few years back. What I’m arguing for here is something different. I think it makes sense for the Yanks to send Joba down to AAA sometime in April or May and let him pitch his rehab as a starter, whether they plan on using him as one at the MLB level or not.

When a pitcher is coming back from Tommy John surgery, its often been said that velocity comes back first, while command is the last thing to return. In most cases they need a certain number of innings under their belt to get that command back. Letting Joba take a turn every 5 days as a starter will allow him to amass those innings more quickly, which should allow him to return to peak form faster.… Click here to read the rest

I was wrong, wasn’t I?

When news of Ryan Braun‘s failed PED test first broke, I quickly wrote a post proclaiming his failed test a black eye for the game. But I was hasty in my judgement. Those who posted in the comments section rightly pointed out that it wasn’t clear that Braun had failed the test, that an appeal was taking place. In response, I said that if Braun’s suspension was overturned I would declare that I was wrong, right here on the blog. Well, I was wrong.

Wait, was I wrong? Things aren’t entirely as the headlines have proclaimed. Braun did successfully overturn his suspension, but the details of his appeal leave much to be desired. His lawyers did not prove that his test was a false positive, nor did they prove that his specimen did not have twenty times the amount of testosterone it should have (synthetic in nature). Instead, they attacked the chain of custody of the specimen. They were able to raise enough doubts about what happened to Braun’s specimen between when it was collected and when it reached the lab that the deciding arbitrator voted down the suspension.… Click here to read the rest

Thinking out loud on failing to extend Russell Martin

Image from Wikipedia

As I’m sure you know by now, there were some mid week reports that the Yanks and Russell Martin were discussing a contract extension. Those reports were shot down almost immediately, and it turns out they were just a rehashing of some pre-arb hearing conversations that went nowhere. Both sides have since decided to shelve any further discussions until after the season, when Martin is due to become a free agent. The talks apparently broke down over cost. The Yanks were willing to go 3 years and around 20M, while Martin was seeking more than that. Both sides have solid reasons for walking away. From Martin’s perspective, he knows another healthy and productive season should garner him a more lucrative deal in terms of years and dollars. From the Yankee side, a player with Martin’s health history has to come at some discount unless and until he proves his issues with his hip and knee are behind him.… Click here to read the rest