And So Ends A Sad Chapter In Yankee Pitching History

Hughes-Chamberlain

17.8.  After 14 combined seasons filled with injuries, bad luck, bad developmental decisions, and just plain bad pitching, that’s what the Yankees have to show for their years of team control over Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.  17.8 fWAR.  Or if you prefer the BR version, 13.4.  That’s over the course of 442 appearances and 1,225.1 innings pitched, and you don’t have to be a sabermetric genius to figure out that’s not exactly prime bang for your buck in terms of value.  Hughes and Chamberlain never lived up to the hype as pitching prospects and as of 12 o’clock this morning, with no qualifying offers in their hands, they were free to leave the Yankees and pursue a fresh start with a new ballclub.  Chances are microscopically slim that either will return to the Yankees next season.

This is probably the final time I’ll have to write about either of these guys, and this isn’t meant to be a final kick in their asses on their way out the door.  …

Read more

A-Rod’s Offseason Battles Starting To Hinder The Yankees’ Offseason Plans

A-Rod Hearing

There are a lot of words you could use to describe the back-and-forth mud slinging in the media between Alex Rodriguez‘s legal camp and Major League Baseball right now.  Hilarious, ridiculous, and pathetic are a few that come mind.  But how about problematic?  While the verbal haymakers being thrown don’t appear to have much impact on the Yankees as a team, the dragging out of the process is going to become a big problem now that the offseason and free agency have started.

Who knows what’s going to happen with Alex’s “witch hunt” lawsuit against MLB.  I’m sure he and his lawyers thought filing it would help strengthen their suspension appeal case, but with the way things are going between both sides in the media you have to think the arbitrator won’t be swayed too much by it.  The real concern from the Yankees’ perspective is the appeal hearing and the still lengthy amount of time until it starts again.  …

Read more

Quick Hit: What’s New In The “A-Rod vs. MLB” Battle?

Major League Baseball moved to have A-Rod’s “witch hunt” lawsuit thrown out yesterday and followed that up by filing a petition against A-Rod’s PR guy in an effort to obtain the documents they allege A-Rod took from Tony Bosch.  Both sides offered up their feelings on these latest developments.

A-Rod’s Lawyer: “As we have said all along, Alex has never bought any documents related to Biogenesis, and he has repeatedly turned down offers from various individuals who approached him about buying them. Alex unequivocally denies having exposed any players. This is MLB’s desperate cry for help. What happened to the ‘overwhelming mountain’ of evidence against Alex? Having now rested its case against Alex, this effort makes clear to the world that MLB doesn’t have what they said they have. What is perhaps most shocking — and the best evidence of their desperation — is that MLB would do this during the World Series.”

MLB: “We continue to be at a loss to explain how Mr.…

Read more

Oh Yeah, The A-Rod Suspension Appeal Started Yesterday

A-Rod Press Conference

For as much news as his initial connection to the Biogenesis Clinic made, and as much as the MSM hyped him up as a villain when the suspensions were handed down and he was the only one to appeal, the opening day of the Alex Rodriguez appeal hearing yesterday didn’t generate much buzz.  A-Rod himself was there with his legal team, as was former Biogenesis head Anthony Bosch, but for the most part the coverage seemed to be limited to just that and a few quick words from A-Rod and Joe Tacopina on their way out.  I don’t know if it was because there was the AL tiebreaker game last night or if everybody was super stoked about Saints-Dolphins on MNF.  I even forget about it myself before I saw a few things come across Twitter late yesterday morning, which is surprising considering the results of this appeal are the most important part of the Yankees’ offseason.

It got lost in the shuffle after he’d been back for a few games, and it completely fell off the map after the Dempster HBP incident, but don’t forget about the very public and very hostile back-and-forth between A-Rod and the Yankees in the local media before he came off the DL.  …

Read more

What To Think About CC’s Future?

CC vs BOS III

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

It was a weekend of rotation problems on full display for the Yankees.  Hiroki Kuroda continued to get killed on misplaced pitches in the strike zone and lack of offspeed bite on Friday.  Ivan Nova looked like an absolute mess on the mound last Sunday night, both physically and mentally if you subscribe to Orel Hershiser‘s way of thinking when looking at pitchers’ body language.  But by far the biggest rotational black eye was the continued ineffectiveness of CC Sabathia on Saturday.  The big guy gave up 13 combined baserunners and 5 ER in 6 innings of work, the latest in a string of poor starts that stretches back months and has shown no signs of being corrected.

Sabathia’s season ERA is up to 4.90, which ranks him 79th out of 83 MLB starters who’ve pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title.  His 4.12 FIP is not quite as bad, although it does place him firmly in the bottom third of qualified starters.  …

Read more

Bullpen Battered, Bruised, And Bad

Claiborne vs BOS

It’s been the anchor of the pitching staff for years, but down the stretch of this season the Yankee bullpen has completely fallen apart.  After giving up 4 more runs in 4 innings of work last night, the ‘pen finds itself with the worst ERA (6.69) and second worst FIP (5.31) in MLB since the start of September.  The collective -0.4 fWAR this month is 4th worst and a comparison of the HR-related stats shines a big bright light on the problem.  New York’s 12 HR allowed by the bullpen this month is 5 more than the second highest total, accounting for almost 20% of the 64 hits they’ve given up and few key blown late game leads.  From steadying roster force to productivity fallout zone, the Yankee ‘pen has joined the rotation and lineup as a major problem area at the worst possible time.

The main cause of this nosedive is, what else, injuries.  3 of New York’s top 4 relievers – Boone Logan, David Robertson, Shawn Kelley – have missed time this month with arm troubles.  …

Read more

2013: Year Of The HBP

Cano HBP vs TOR

I’m sure the immediate reaction in Yankeeland to watching Robinson Cano take a fastball off the hand and leave the game in the 1st inning last night was not a fun one.  It was a near identical flashback to the J.A. Happ pitch that broke Curtis Granderson‘s forearm in ST, and I for one was almost a little relieved that I wasn’t there to watch it happen live as it would have more than likely led to me making some kind of mean comment about Happ getting hit with another line drive.  Chalk it up as another one of the rare times when I’m glad I live in Wisconsin.

X-rays on Cano’s hand were negative and he’s listed as day-to-day, so everyone can breathe easy for now.  Another major injury at the hands of Blue Jay pitching, to the team’s best player no less, would have been the final insult in a long, frustrating, and once again injury-riddled season.  Cano was lucky, as guys like Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez before him were when they got plunked this year, and he doesn’t look like he’s going to miss any significant time.  …

Read more

Done

Mo vs CHW

Monday night was supposed to be the night that turned the 2013 Yankee season around.  At least that was the narrative we were expected to believe after Dan Barbarisi posted his story on Monday night’s postgame closed-door meeting.  There were words like “fun,” “energy,” and “intensity,” and the obligatory “our postseason starts now” message was thrown out there.  The team didn’t want to fall into a pattern of accepting the losing culture that has defined them since about mid-May.  They had to come together, they had to stay positive, and they had to start turning things around towards a playoff push Tuesday night.

The reality is that this team was dead where it stood and has been for some time.  The fact that a team meeting was called to rally the troops and get some positive vibes going served only to confirm that previous sentence.  I can’t remember who said it, but I remember hearing a player once sum up team meetings like this perfectly: “Winners win.  …

Read more

Timing Of Latest Injury Setbacks Leaves Rotation Dangerously Thin

It was another poor outing for Phil Hughes yesterday, the poorest and shortest he’s had since his 0.2-inning meltdown against the Mariners in May.  In his last 3 starts, Hughes has completed just 12.1 innings and has given up 13 R (10 ER) on 19 H in those innings with 8 BB to just 6 K.  His leash with Joe has gotten shorter to the point that were it a literal leash it would probably be choking him to death as soon as he took the mound, and his inability to work efficiently and deeply into games is becoming a burden on the bullpen.  Hughes needed 71 pitches yesterday to retire just 8 batters.

Combined with the unadulterated putridity that has been CC Sabathia‘s last 4 starts, suddenly the Yankees are rolling with an even worse rotation than they had a few weeks ago.  The group that needed to turn things around in concert with the offense if the Yankees were going to make a serious playoff charge has become an alternating “all or nothing” collection of some of the best and worst pitching we’ve seen this season.  …

Read more