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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Who’s on first? Not Sabathia

Sabathia vs TB 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

I fully understand that CC Sabathia gets paid to pitch. And him having a bounce-back season or even a somewhat decent full season is what is important for the Yankees in their quest for a playoff spot. I get all that. I also fully appreciate what Brad wrote yesterday about the big man’s weight. He was a great pitcher as a big guy and can be a good pitcher as a big guy. The one irritant for me during Sabathia’s tenure with the Yankees is that he pitches with only eight fielders because he is not one of them.

During Sabthia’s abbreviated season in 2014, the Yankees’ pitcher recorded only one putout. That would be an unfair statement if 2014 wasn’t the fifth time in his career that he recorded only one putout for a season. He has a string of three of those seasons in a row. Sabathia does not cover first base very well.

The only putout Sabathia recorded in 2014 was on a Robinson Cano dribbler to first.…

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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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Issues With The Incumbents: Elbows, And Shoulders, And Knees, Oh My!

Beltran Over Wall Tampa

Look out, Carlos!!

I know I said nobody wanted or needed to read about all the injury risks with this year’s team again, but it wouldn’t be right to do a series of posts on the biggest issues with the returning players and not mention it.  As it stands right now, almost every returning key player comes with some kind of significant injury risk and that’s a storyline that is never going to go away this year, even if nobody suffers a major injury.

So let’s review the list quickly, shall we?  The rotation is rife with injury risks, specifically the unholy trinity of Masahiro Tanaka‘s elbow, Michael Pineda‘s shoulder, and CC Sabathia‘s knee.  Tanaka has been on a modified throwing program this offseason, not throwing as hard and as much as he used to before the season, and all reports on his conditioning and elbow have been positive.  Sabathia’s offseason program has been even more modified and watered down as he attempts to come back from knee surgery.  …

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Issues With The Incumbents: Big Mac

New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox

Courtesy of Ray Stubblebine/NY Post

Brian McCann‘s debut season in Yankeeland wasn’t very good.  That’s not a story that needs to be told and beaten into the ground anymore.  We know the hows, we know the whys, and we know it was disappointing.  What makes it an important story heading into this season is what it does or doesn’t mean about McCann’s future.  He’s not as old or as broken down as A-Rod, Teix, or Beltran, but as a soon-to-be-31-year-old catcher who’s been an everyday catcher for 9 seasons running he’s also not the same physically as your average 31-year-old MLB player.  Last season could have been the beginning of the end for McCann as a well above-average hitting catcher and it could have been first-year adjustment issues.  That’s the worry that Cash and Joe will have as Mac gets ready for Year 2.

If you’re a subscriber to the theory that McCann’s decrease in production was more approach/bad BIP luck/adjustment jitters-related, and that the player we saw in the final 2 months was more representative of the normal McCann, OK.  …

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Issues With The Incumbents: The Aged, Regressed, Switch-Hitting Middle-Of-The-Order Bats

Teix-Beltran 2014

Courtesy of the AP

As we continue to refocus our attention on the returning part of this remade Yankee roster, let’s shift said attention from the position players who are still in their physical primes to a couple who are not.  In a perfect world, a team getting 2 legitimate switch-hitting power threats who usually produce well from both sides of the plate back in its lineup would be a major boost.  In the Yankees’ world, the return of Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira to the lineup may not end up helping at all.

And make no mistake, these guys are switch-hitting studs when it comes to the back of the baseball cards.  Teix has a .914 career OPS hitting righty against southpaws and .865 from the left side of the plate.  Beltran is .862 hitting from the right side and .860 from the left.  In their primes, these were 2 of the best offensive players at their respective positions and 2 of the best all-around hitters in the game.…

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Choo-Choo!! The A-Rod Hate Train Is Back On The Rails

Baseball is inching closer and closer to being back, and that can mean only one thing.  It’s time for the A-Rod Hate Train to come back into town!  It’s been a while since that line ran through, but if you mind the gap on your way in and keep your tickets out, we’ll be on our way.

With the start of Spring Training a month and change away, the topic has naturally shifted from A-Rod’s legal issues to his on-field activities.  Everybody knows he’s been working out for a while in preparation for his return, but all the offseason moves have essentially limited him to semi-regular DH/backup third base duties.  According to the New York Post, he’s fine with that:

“’Alex is looking at this season as a fresh start,’ one friend said. ‘He’s prepared to do the best he can in his role as a DH, but he is also preparing to play third base, knowing there will be times that Headley needs a break.

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Quick Hit: The Current Rotation Depth

With the Winter Meetings well in the rearview, the new year dead ahead, and pitcher-catcher report dates closer than you might realize, it appears as though the Yankees have made all the major moves they’re going to make this offseason.  Hiroki Kuroda would have made a lot of sense, but his announcement that he will return to Japan to pitch in 2015 ended the possibility of him being brought back as additional rotation depth.  Scott astutely pointed out how that might not be the worst thing in the world earlier this morning, but even without a declining Hirok the need for more starting pitching depth is obvious.  If the organizational rotation depth was ranked 1-10, here’s how it might look right now:

1) Masahiro Tanaka
2) Michael Pineda
3) CC Sabathia
4) Nathan Eovaldi
5) Chris Capuano

6) Bryan Mitchell (made final start of 2014)
7) Ivan Nova (slated to be back from TJS in May; might not be useful until August if at all)
8) Jose De Paula (made 24 starts between Double-A and Triple-A since 2013)
9) Chase Whitley (pitched to a 4.76/3.81 split in 12 Major League starts in 2014)
10) Manny Banuelos (pitched 76.2 innings over 25 starts in Minors in 2014 coming back from TJS)

That’s not very deep at all.  …

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Yankees Not Valuing Their Own Free Agents

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees may be willing to go to four years for free agent reliever Andrew Miller since it will surely take that to sign him. Meanwhile, they are still resistant to make that same commitment to their own free agent reliever David Robertson.

There are some legitimate reasons for this. Miller will cost less because he has less of a track record and the Yankees would gain a draft pick for losing Robertson to another team. However, should a few bucks and a pick really stop them from choosing a guy with a one-year track record over a guy who has been one of the best players on their team over the last six years?

Starting with Robinson Cano last year, this would be the second straight season in which the Yankees let a great homegrown player go, instead choosing outside guys to fill positions of need. These are the Yankees, they’re not supposed to be letting their best guys leave via free agency with their money.…

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