Imagining The Worst Case Scenario With The Rotation

Whitley vs TOR 2014

If Whitley is back in the rotation, you know it’s all gone wrong. Courtesy of the AP

Yesterday I laid out the rosiest, happiest, best possible best case scenario for the 2015 starting rotation, a starting rotation that we all know is pretty high risk and potentially high reward.  As some commenters were sharp enough to point out, the worst case scenario is the one that has a higher probability of happening and that fact was not lost on me when I wrote up the first post.  I always intended to do the worst case scenario too, even though it’s not something I particularly enjoy writing about.  So if everybody promises to stay calm and help each other through this, we can make our way through this hypothetical worst case scenario together.  Fair enough?  Alright, here we go.

If the best case scenario for Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda involves them staying healthy above all else, then of course the worst case scenario involves them both getting hurt.  …

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Imagining The Best Case Scenario With The Rotation

Tanaka ST 2015 BP

The key to any best case scenario… Courtesy of the AP

The big names in the projected starting rotation aren’t scheduled to make their 2015 spring debuts yet, but we got our first look at one of the members when Nathan Eovaldi made his first ST start yesterday.  He’s one of multiple best case/worst case unknowns in the rotation, and where he and the rest of his rotation mates fall on that case scale could determine whether the Yankees end up having one of the best or worst rotations in baseball this season.

I’ve been pondering how those best case/worst case scenarios might play out for a while now.  It feels like this season more than the last few is one in which the potential for the rotation leans mostly towards the extremes with not much room for a middle ground performance.  Without getting too detailed or statistically-supported in this exercise, I’d like to ramble for a bit on what I’ve been pondering and try to paint a picture of what the best case scenario for the rotation would look like this season.  …

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The First Spring A-Rod Story That Matters: Will He Play Tomorrow?

Alex Rodriguez

Courtesy of the AP

The Alex Rodriguez coverage continues to be almost entirely laughable this spring, but yesterday afternoon a few reports came out that were actually worth the time it took to write them.  With the Yankees’ ST opener about a day away, the question has been raised of whether A-Rod will play in that game and if so, at what position?  The beat guys got on this yesterday and didn’t turn up much.  Alex said he had to talk to Joe first, Joe said he had to talk to Alex first, and it sounded like everybody was going to get back and talk about it together today before making a decision.

The Yanks will play a 6-inning intrasquad game today with a pitching machine, and as of this morning it’s still unknown if A-Rod will even participate in that game.  While there will be little to take from his performance in his first game, whenever that may be, I do think the Yankees realize that this decision does carry more weight with it than it normally would.  …

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Don’t Forget About Andrew Bailey

Bailey ST 2015

Joe’s already got his eye on him. Courtesy of the Yanks’ PR handle

I name dropped him in the ST roster battles post yesterday morning, but I think Andrew Bailey deserves a little more digital ink based on the news that came out yesterday.  Via Chad Jennings, Bailey threw a bullpen yesterday afternoon.  Like Ivan Nova, he’s been back throwing bullpens for a while now and he spoke like a player who felt he was almost back to normal game shape:

“I came in and spent the offseason training, working as I would if I played last year. The doctor gave me 18, 24 months (to be healthy after surgery), and we’re in that 18th, 19th month. Everyone around here, training staff, coaches and strength and conditioning have all kind of (treated it as if) I’m a normal guy with some needs. Hopefully we get rid of those needs. Everything feels great. I’m with the team and doing everything as I would normally, and if I need a little extra work here or there, that’s fine too.

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The Real Problem With Not Signing Yoan Moncada

It’s been over 24 hours since the news of the Red Sox signing prized Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada broke, and as I mentioned earlier I’m still struggling to make sense of it from a Yankee perspective.  This felt like it should have been a slam dunk.  This was going to be the big cherry on top of the international spending sundae, the big signing that got the Yankees back in the game of landing top-tier Cuban talent.  That’s a game the team has been hesitant to play since signing Jose Contreras, and the call for them to re-engage has grown incredibly loud as we’ve watched good player after good player sign with other teams over the past few years.

Once again the player in question did not sign with the Yankees, and this instance more than any other has generated a ton of negative reaction from the Yankee fanbase.  How could they lose out to the Red Sox?  How could they fail to make the biggest offer?  …

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Monday Morning Rapid-Fire Reactions To What I Missed Over The Last Week

hank-steinbrenner-smoking

There was a Hank sighting and I missed it?? Damn

Good morning, dear IIATMS readers.  How’s everybody feeling this morning?  It feels good to be back after a week off, and it feels even better to have had nothing go majorly wrong in Yankeeland while I was away.  It was a bummer to miss pitchers and catchers report day last Friday, but that disappointment is overwhelmed by the excitement that comes with the start of Spring Training and the return of baseball to our lives.

Last week was not an inactive one, and naturally I have my own opinions on the comings and goings of that last week.  Before proceeding with what’s going on in the present and getting back to business as usual around here, I wanted to circle back and give my quick takes on the major stories I missed last week.  I promise this won’t take long.

A-Rod’s Apology Letter

Loved it.  Loved everything about it.  He was obviously in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation when it came to the public apology, and I think he made the right decision to handle it the way he did.  …

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: A Plan For Esmil Rogers?

Rogers vs TOR

Courtesy of Getty Images

You know what move still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me?  The decision to re-sign Esmil Rogers.  It was one of the first signings made by the Yankees this offseason, well before new deals were worked out with the rest of their arbitration-eligible players.  Rogers wasn’t anything special in his time with the Yanks last year (4.68/4.17/4.05 in 25.0 IP), has been even less special in his 421-inning Major League career, and seemed a sure bet to be quickly and unceremoniously cut whenever the rest of the pitching staff was filled out with better players.

That filling out has happened, in the bullpen at least, and yet here Rogers remains.  Not only has he held his position on the 40-man from the end of last season, he may have improved that position with what he’s done this offseason.  Rogers worked as a starter in winter leagues, and Billy Eppler recently confirmed that he will be coming to camp as a starter along with Adam Warren.  …

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Tuesday Morning Food For Thought: James Shields, Anybody?

Everybody knows the situation with the rotation heading into spring camp this year.  We know it’s got a potentially higher ceiling than people are giving it credit for but that it needs a lot to go right for that to happen.  We know the depth behind the projected starting 5 isn’t there, and we know that the latest projections are not optimistic about the health concerns surrounding those starting 5.

Enter James Shields, who is somewhat surprisingly still out there on the free agent market and reportedly losing his luster rapidly.  Buster Olney said on Sunday that Shields’ “leverage is gone now” and went even further in saying that “Shields is in the worst possible spot of any free agent” still left.  Nick Cafardo described Shields’ current situation as “radio silence,” which is not something you want to hear when you had visions of getting 5 years and 9 figures this offseason.

There is some belief that a team could come in with a lower-figure 4-year offer and land him, but given the limited confirmed interest and dropping asking price, should the Yankees swoop in and try to get Shields on a shorter, higher-dollar deal?  …

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Can Adam Warren Return To Being a Starter?

Courtesy MLBPressBox.com

Adam Warren was one of the biggest surprises for the Yankees in 2014 pitching out of the bullpen. He had a 2.97 ERA and a 3.28 xFIP and stabilized the middle innings before the Yankees got to Dellin Betances and David Robertson later in the game.

The biggest surprise with Warren was his added strikeouts and velocity coming out of the bullpen. Even though that will generally happen with most pitchers who go from starting to relieving, it was especially noticeable with Warren because he also relieved in 2013 and never showed this kind of stuff. According to Brooks Baseball, Warren averaged 95.28 MPH on his fastball after averaging 93.97 MPH in 2013 and his K/9 jumped to 8.69 last year from 7.48 the previous season.

Even after Warren’s great season in the bullpen last year, returning him to the rotation must be considered this year due to the Yankees’ lack of depth in their rotation. Top pitchers Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia are all health risks, and Chris Capuano is a performance risk at the fifth spot.…

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