New Lefty Specialist Reliever CC Sabathia?

I’ll start with the Cliff Notes version of my argument. (1) CC Sabathia is no longer a big-league starter. (2) The Yankees have three southpaw relievers, but no true lefty specialist. (3) CC’s decline has been entirely against righties, so he still has use as a lefty specialist reliver. (4) This isn’t as weird as it sounds: other declining lefty starters have had second lives in their 30s as relievers.

I’ll skip the Nth discussion of how CC has been horrible for about 300 innings spanning 2013-2015, except to add that CC has zero value to the club even if he could run a 4.5ish ERA (which he can’t), because the team has too many alternatives ranging from replacement-level at worst (still better than CC) to mid-rotation-level. After Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi: (a) Chase Whitley and Adam Warren look like equally serviceable back-end starters; (b) another similar back-end starter is on the way in Chris Capuano, (c) Bryan Mitchell, who’s looked strong in AAA, is a wild card who could be awful but could be very good; and (d) Ivan Nova should return next month, and if healthy (which he seems to be) is a solid 3rd starter or better.…

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The Farm Report: May 4

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
The RailRiders had a tougher week this past week, going 3-4. They avoided the three-game sweep by Gwinett, before splitting a four game series with Charlotte. They now own a 12-13 record and remain 3.5 games behind Buffalo.

The big news out of Scranton has been Jose Pirela, who continues to rehab in Scranton. In his four games with the RailRiders this week, Pirela went 11-19 (.579) with four doubles, a homer, four RBIs and a walk. He is hitting .364/.400/.606 over eight minor league starts spread between Tampa, Trenton and Scranton. Ben Gamel continues to swing a hot bat (.368/.427/.574), but Slade Heathcott had a slow week hitting just .250.

Rob Refsnyder is riding an eight game hit streak, going 32-79 (.405) with seven RBIs and a stolen base. He even stole a hit from Eury Perez, which you can watch here. Jose Ramirez picked up his last two save opportunities this week, throwing three hitless innings, walking one and striking out one.…

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Quick hit: Every call of A-Rod’s 660th home run

I was watching last night’s game on YES so I only heard Michael Kay’s call of Alex Rodriguez’s 660th home run but I wanted to hear the other calls to see how different they were because I had heard that John Sterling was very excited during his call on the radio. Well, here are all of them, TV and radio, including my new favorite call of all time from the play by play announcer on WADO 1280 AM, NY’s Spanish Talk and News station. If you think Sterling gets excited, just wait until you hear WADO’s call. It’s really great.

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Thoughts leading up to another series with Boston

It’s Friday morning, it’s the day after an off day and I have the early slot so you know what that means.

It’s random thoughts time!

  • Hold onto your butts! It’s time for another Yankees-Red Sox series!
  • What’s with the schedule this year? Why does it feel like the Yankees are only playing AL East teams?
  • I know that’s not completely true because they played the Tigers and the Mets but after they play Boston, they’re playing the Blue Jays up into Toronto, come home to play the Orioles in a four-game series and then go back on the road to play the Rays in the Slop again.
  • I guess it’s a good thing because they’ll have played the Rays nine times before May 15, but I don’t know, something seems off to me.
  • CC Sabathia is looking for his first win tonight and he’s going up against Justin Masterson.
  • Why do I have a feeling CC isn’t even going to last four innings?
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Off Day Open Thread

Oops! I was supposed to post this at 6:30 and completely forgot to do it.

It may be an off day for the Yankees but there is a whole lot of stuff happening tonight:

  • The NFL Draft is starting.
  • The Rangers and Capitals start their series.
  • There’s a two hour Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Okay maybe there isn’t a lot happening tonight…

Anyway, feel free to discuss whatever you like. Oh and if you missed some stuff on our site today, here are some links:

Enjoy your evening!

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A Look to the Past for CC’s Future: Do Starters with “CC-Like” Declines Recover?

It’s about time to stop defending guys with, “it’s too early to conclude….” Bad performance for almost a month is worrisome – especially if the badness just continues from prior years. I already wrote that about Carlos Beltran, so now it’s CC Sabathia’s turn. The problem it isn’t his four 2015 starts; it’s his almost 300 IP of an 80 ERA+ (4.97 ERA) spanning 2013-15.

This is one of those times you can predict baseball: falling as far and as fast as CC is uncommon, but not unprecedented; he isn’t the first once-talented 30something to suffer a substantial, sudden decline – which I confirmed by searching the Baseball Reference “Play Index” tool for pitchers with a decline like CC’s. I generated a list of all 30something starters, in the past 50 years, with a career ERA+ of over 95 (i.e., average-ish or better) who, after at least six full seasons (i.e., a track record of success), suddenly had an ERA+ under 85 (in at least 150 IP).…

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Quick hit: Anonymous fan wants an asterisk next to A-Rod’s 660th home run

The following image has been spreading around the internet like wildfire:

My first thought was, “This has to be Randy Levine.”

My second thought was, “I wonder if this person has any problem with guys like Mays using greenies.”

My third thought was, “Hello? Barry Bonds?”

My fourth thought was, “This guy is hilarious and I’m so glad people like him are around for my amusement.”

Here’s home run #659 again for your enjoyment:

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The Yankees’ bullpen is living up to expectations so far

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It was no secret going into the season that the bullpen would be the biggest strength for the New York Yankees.

However, the bullpen has managed to even exceed high expectations so far. The Yankees bullpen is second in MLB in team ERA (1.86) and second in K/9 (9.84).

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances have not allowed a single run this season and the Yankees have not missed David Robertson yet at all, despite him getting off to an outstanding start with the White Sox. Robertson has been so good that his FIP – .82. I did not even know a minus FIP was possible honestly. I was critical of the decision not to bring Robertson back myself, but so far it certainly hasn’t been an issue. Just think about how sick Robertson, Betances and Miller would be though.

Betances is back to his 2014 form after initially struggling with his mechanics at the beginning of the season. His 97-98 mph velocity has returned along with his knee buckling slurve that had Mets hitters looking childish last night.…

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The Farm Report: April 27

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
The RailRiders went 4-3 this week, putting them at 9-9 over all, and 3.5 games behind Buffalo in the IL North Division. They took two out of three from Lehigh Valley before splitting a four game set against Pawtucket. The RailRiders currently lead the IL in triples with seven.

Chase Whitley continues to impress, throwing six innings against Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, giving up one run on six hits, no walks and two Ks. He owns a 2.12 ERA right now, with opposing hitters batting just .210 off him. Whitley has struck out thirteen in three games, while walking just six. Jacob Lindgren made two appearances this week, each for 0.2 innings. He allowed only one hit, two walks and struck out three. He owns a 2.98 ERA over seven games and has opposing hitters batting just .206.

Tyler Austin had a tough week, going just 3-28 with one RBI. He took only one walk and struck out seven times.…

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