Adam Warren v. Dave LaPoint (and Starter v. Reliever Velocity)

Warren vs BAL II

Courtesy of Getty Images

Ever have a job you were performing decently, but that still left you wondering every day if a demotion is coming? Adam Warren does. While he’s not killing it, or pitching deep into games, his average of just under 5.5 IP/start isn’t awful, and not many teams have both 4th and 5th starters beating Warren’s 4.50 ERA / 4.15 FIP. But Chris Capuano‘s return was sure to cost the rotation spot of one guy a decade younger – either Warren or, it turned out, TJ patient Chase Whitley.

Old Man Capuano versus The Kids reminds me of my favorite obscure baseball quote: rookie Sterling Hitchcock‘s too-bold yet dead-on blasting of the Yankees’ impatience with trusting young starters over crappy vets. Hitchcock is a Yankee immortal to me, but for this quote, not his forgettable pitching:

You hear a lot about our young guys, but then there’s no slot for us … It’s, “Go back to [AAA] and have a great year, and thanks for coming.” It’s frustrating because you look at other teams … and you see you pitched against them in the minors.

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On Using These Off-Days To Plan For The Near Future And Improve The Roster

The Yankees had their first scheduled off-day since April 30th yesterday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  At the end of a stretch that saw them play 30 games in 31 days, they were playing baseball like a tired team that needed a rest.  The bats had gone cold, the bullpen had been worked hard, and there wasn’t much energy to their losses during their 1-5 week last week.  Despite that long stretch and rough finish, they still wake up today in first place in the division, with a respectably positive run differential (+15), and with another scheduled off-day on the horizon before they head home for the weekend.

The Yankees are still in a good spot, and they’re going to hopefully get some more pitching help back in the weeks to come.  I’m confident that 2 days off this week will help bring some life back to those old legs and cold bats.  But to make the most out of this now friendly off-day schedule, I think the Yankees need to do more than rest.  …

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Transition and Tradition

Judge ST

How long until Judge-ment day? Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

I have to admit that I am a bit lost. I don’t know how to love these Yankees. Oh boy…that doesn’t sound very journalistic. Well, heck. I’m not a journalist. I have always written from the point of view of a fan. My name on Twitter should give you a clue. On my site, I stay neutral and write as a fan of baseball as a whole. When I write for IIATMS, I am a Yankee fan. That’s what I am. And as such, I don’t know how to feel about this 2015 team.

Oh, there are plenty of writers that will tell me how I should feel. The team is old. Our writers have already blown up that notion. The starting pitching is a time bomb. Excuse me, but every rotation in baseball is a time bomb. Any rotation can blow up in the blink of an elbow. I should be dissatisfied because there were no big deals this off season.…

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Stephen Drew, Brendan Ryan, Chris Young, And Learning A Lesson From Last Year

A few weeks ago, it seemed like there was a real chance for some change in the planned Opening Day roster construction for the Yankees.  Brendan Ryan was injured, Stephen Drew wasn’t playing all that well (obligatory SSS disclaimer), and both Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder were doing enough in the early going to make legitimate cases for consideration.

A few weeks later, that chance has evaporated completely.  Ryan has returned to game action, Drew has swung the bat a little better and basically been guaranteed the starting second base job by Joe, and Pirela will be out for an extended period of time after colliding with the outfield wall in yesterday’s game and being diagnosed with a concussion.  Barring any more unforeseen injuries, the Opening Day bench now looks as if it will be the rather bland group of Ryan, Chris Young, Garrett Jones, and John Ryan Murphy, with Drew at second.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, and that’s coming from the guy who’s been openly campaigning for Ryan’s immediate dismissal from the team and for Drew to be penciled into his backup infielder spot to open up a job for Pirela or Refsnyder for a while.  …

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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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A Quick Word On All This Relief Prospect Depth

The talking point of the Yankees acquiring more organizational depth this offseason has been hammered home for a while now, perhaps nowhere more than with the bullpen.  There are already a ton of arms that are in competition for the last bullpen spot or 2, and there are going to be a ton of young arms waiting in the wings for their chance to break in and contribute.  I mean really, a ton of arms.  In somewhat of a particular order, here’s a breakdown of the current relief prospect depth:

1) Jacob Lindgren
2) Jose Ramirez
3) Chasen Shreve
4) Nick Rumbelow
5) Tyler Webb
6) Danny Burawa
7) James Pazos
8) Branden Pinder
9) Mark Montgomery
10) Nick Goody

That doesn’t even include guys like Phil Wetherall, Dietrich Enns, and Diego Moreno who have had some success working in relief in the middle levels of the system, and 2014 draft picks like Jonathan Holder, Jordan Foley, Sean Carley, and Jake Kelzer.  …

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Reviewing The 2014 International Signing Crop

They aren’t going to be prominently displayed in the IIATMS Top 30, but to do a week dedicated to prospect coverage and not mention the Yankees’ record-setting international spending spree last year would be wrong.  They said they were going to go big when the signing period opened last July 2nd and go big they did.  They handed out about $12 million in bonuses to a slew of top 30 international prospects in a matter of hours, and I believe the final bonus count came in at a little over $15 mil.  Factor in the penalty for going that far over their assigned $2.2 million spending pool and this last international signing period cost the Yanks roughly $28.5 million.

That’s chump change for them as far as investing in potential future All Stars goes, so it’s easy to see why they chose to make this move.  It’s far too early to tell if that’s what will come out of that investment, but the Yankees definitely got a lot of raw talent and upside for their buck.  …

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Hal Speaks On The Offseason (And Some Other Stuff)

Hal Steinbrenner was on hand for the latest owners’ meeting in Arizona yesterday, and as he usually does when he’s out and about, he held court with the Yankee beat writers on hand to talk about the latest happenings in Yankeeland.  I could bust his balls here for implying that the Yankees don’t have room to spend more money or for pointing out the health risks in the rotation while not addressing the need to address those risks, but I’ll just skip that and let people judge his comments for themselves.  All quotes via Ken Davidoff:

On the team’s offseason goals- “We had numerous goals.  Two of the goals were to get younger and get better defensively. I think we’ve done that. I think our bullpen’s better. I think it’s one of the best in baseball, quite frankly. My opinion.”

On the payroll budget and Cash working within that- “We started out with a payroll that was already high before we did anything.

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Thursday Afternoon Food For Thought: The Importance Of All These Marginal Upgrades

This was originally supposed to be a longer series of posts after the regular season ended, but I figured some of the wounds were still too fresh and I didn’t want to be too big of a downer.  We all know there were a ton of bad losses last season.  Listed below are the 5 games I believe the Yankees should have won the most:

  • 5/11/14- Brewers 6, Yankees 5.  Yanks blew an early lead after scoring 3 off Matt Garza in the top of the 1st.  Bullpen coughed up the lead late, then gave up the walk-off loss in the bottom of the 9th after a Teix HR to tie the game in the top half.
  • 7/5/14- Twins 2, Yankees 1.  Yanks lost on a walk-off error in the 11th inning after managing to score only 1 run against Minnesota starter Yohan Pino.  They didn’t have a single extra-base hit in the game.
  • 7/21/14- Rangers 4, Yankees 2.  The team made 5 defensive errors and scored 2 runs on 4 hits in 7.1 innings against Miles Mikolas.  
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