Projecting The 25-Man Roster At The Trade Deadline

By now, almost everybody has had a chance to catch up on the big story to come out of last night, that being the Yankees’ decision to send Adam Warren back to the bullpen.  They announced that Nathan Eovaldi would make the start tomorrow, effectively removing Warren from the rotation and sending him back to where he was originally supposed to be.

The argument for why Warren deserved to go when he’s outperformed former fellow starters CC Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi is both a valid and unnecessary one, as this was always the move the Yankees were going to make.  Further beating that dead horse case into the ground won’t change the decision, so rather than dwell on it let’s move forward from it and use it as a launch pad to look ahead over the next month.

The return of Ivan Nova is what really led to the Warren decision, and depending on how you want to look at it, that return can act as the Yankees’ version of adding a starter at the trade deadline.  …

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Quick Hit: Nova Touched Up In Latest Rehab Start

It was a big night for Adam Warren last night, but it was also another important night for Ivan Nova.  He made his third MiL rehab start, second for Triple-A SWB, and this one wasn’t nearly as good as the first 2.

Nova completed 5 innings and gave up 5 earned runs on 7 hits.  He walked 2, struck out 4, and threw 49 of his 84 pitches for strikes.  I thought he was scheduled for 90 or so, so he didn’t reach that level.  His command was not as sharp as it was in his first Triple-A start, which is not all that unexpected after TJS, but as with the first 2 outings there were no physical issues and Nova came out of the start saying he felt good.

The question once again becomes what do the Yankees do next with Nova?  There was talk of him rejoining the rotation after only 2 rehab outings, but after this step back in terms of command and performance, perhaps the Yankees will rethink whatever current rotation options they have in the works.  …

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How Much Longer Should The Yankees Wait To Make More Roster Changes?

A little over a month ago I wrote a post on the importance of the Yankees using some off-days to prepare for how they could go about improving the weakest parts of their roster.  At the time they had a healthy bullpen, a good enough rotation, and a few position players (Drew & Jones) that stood out as obvious replacement candidates based on their weak production.

4 weeks later, the landscape has changed a bit.  The bullpen is now in tatters, both in terms of health and effectiveness, Jones has started to hit better, and Chris Young has slid into Jones’ spot as the painfully under-performing bench player.  Drew is still stinky and that’s a problem, but it might not be the most glaring one anymore based on his power output and above-average defensive value.  With the team in the midst of another bitter cold streak and its lack of overall depth being exposed by the National League rules, it’s time for the brain trust to get serious about what they can do to improve these areas of weakness and when.…

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On Yesterday’s Sneak Peek At The New Bullpen Hierarchy

Betances vs BAL

Dellin Betances shakes hands with a small child in a John Ryan Murphy jersey at the conclusion of yesterday’s game. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees salvaged a little something from the weekend series in Baltimore yesterday with a hard fought 5-3 victory.  The big offensive inning in the top of the 5th is what got them the lead, but the real reason they held on to win was the outstanding relief work by the last 3 reliable men standing in the bullpen.

Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, and Dellin Betances.  Only 1 of them was expected to be a critical part of the bullpen’s success this year, but yesterday all 3 of them shined in their new roles.  Shreve came on in relief of starter Adam Warren in the bottom of the 5th to hold the lead the offense had just given them, and did so by getting Travis Snider to fly out to end the inning.  He then returned to the mound for the start of the 6th inning and retired the Orioles 1-2-3 on a pair of groundouts and a foul tip strikeout.…

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Quick Hit: New Middle Relief Options Emerging

In the wake of the David Carpenter DFA decision, the biggest question facing the Yankees was what they were going to do to replace him as one of their regular middle relievers.  The bullpen is currently very low in right-handed relievers, with only Dellin Betances and Esmil Rogers remaining.  We saw what happens when Rogers gets a shot at filling Carpenter’s shoes and it wasn’t good, so the question still stands.  What are the Yankees going to do to make up for that lack of reliable righty middle relief?

If you go back and look at how the bullpen work has been divvied up over the last 2 weeks or so, the Yanks may have already figured out the answer to that question.  As expected, the answer lies not in replacing the lost righty relief but rather in using the high number of lefty relievers in the ‘pen to soak up the extra innings.  Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve have both seen themselves move up in the pecking order lately and they’ve responded well.  …

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Why The Yankees Got Rid Of David Carpenter

The Yankees created some roster waves yesterday, and not just because they activated Masahiro Tanaka from the DL.  To clear a 25-man roster spot for him, the Yanks elected to designate David Carpenter for assignment, the same David Carpenter they traded former top prospect Manny Banuelos to Atlanta to acquire just a handful of months ago.

Carpenter was the unquestioned worst pitcher in the Yankee bullpen as of yesterday morning.  His consistent inability to keep guys off base, strand runners, and prevent runs in key middle relief situations was a surprise and a disappointment to many given what he had done over the prior 2 years with the Braves.  And yet I noticed a fair amount of criticism for the decision to DFA him around the Yankosphere and on Twitter yesterday.  People referring back to the trade and how bad it made giving up ManBan look, people arguing that Carpenter’s past results should have granted him more time, people bringing up Carpenter’s “upside” relative to that of Esmil Rogers or Chris Capuano.…

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Pessimistic Praise for the Jacob Lindgren Promotion

I don’t disagree with Brad’s view that it’s time for Jacob Lindgren to enjoy the culture clash of life in NYC. (Side note: I wish on-the-ground reporters would report more about what it’s like for a Mississippi native, who then attended Mississippi boarding school and Mississippi State, to move to NYC at age 22. My NY-CA move was jarring at 18, and my NY-WI move was jarring at 30, but I can only imagine what it’ll be like for Lindgren….) But while I’m in favor of the callup, I’m pessimistic that he’ll succeed from the get-go.

Here’s the big red-flag question: How will his unimproved control will play (a) in the bigs and (a) in repeat viewings? In just 46.2 minor-league innings, 4.4 BB/9, with no real improvement in AAA this year (4.1 BB/9). Big-league hitters will be all the more able to lay off the out-of-zone stuff, not only because they’re better, but also because they’ll see him repeatedly — unlike his minor-league opponents.…

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Quick Hit: Happy Jacob Lindgren Day, Everybody!

Jacob Lindgren

Courtesy of the AP

There isn’t a lot to be excited or happy about as a Yankee fan this morning.  The team is drowning in its own incompetence and poor play, with underperformances aplenty and a front office brain trust that seems perfectly comfortable with the mediocrity in front of it.

But in this 1-9 darkness, there may be a small beam of light and hope that breaks through today.  The team announced after yesterday’s shellacking that they would be calling up top relief prospect Jacob Lindgren to fortify the bullpen.  The move comes a few weeks later than it should have in the minds of many, and the team basically admitted that they were only doing it because Branden Pinder threw 50 pitches yesterday, so it’s not like this is a complete victory in the world of smart, logical, winning-based decision making.  But I’ll take any small victory I can get right now, and Lindgren getting brought up to the show is definitely a small victory at the very least.…

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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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