Decisions, Decisions

The Yankees have a bunch of looming decisions. The most immediate decision has to deal with offering arbitration/tendering offers to Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Dustin Moseley, Sergio Mitre, and Boone Logan. There are two no brainers in here: yes, offer arbitration or tender contracts to Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. They’re definitely deserving of it and have performed well enough to get a decent contract.

Boone Logan should also be tendered a contract since he’ll probably still be cheap, considering he made just $590,000 in 2010 and performed well enough in the second half to justify a return.

In a perfect world, Sergio Mitre and Dustin Moseley would be non tendered and allowed to be free agents. However, as Joe and Mike over at River Ave. Blues said during yesterday’s Podcast, one of them will probably be brought back just for depth. I hate Sergio Mitre and Dustin Moseley is about as worthless to the Yankees as you can get, but either one will be cheap and very easy to let go when he lays an egg.… Click here to read the rest

2010 Season in Review: The Bullpen

Though Mariano Rivera really deserves his own post, we’re including him in our bullpen Season in Review, primarily because we’ve already done so many individual player reviews that it just seemed easier this way.

We touched on the Yankee bullpen in the Positive Storylines from 2010 post a few weeks ago, noting that in 2010 the unit posted the third-best ERA (3.47) in the American League (and best mark of Joe Girardi‘s three-year tenure) and the fifth-best FIP (4.06).

Here are the numbers for the pitchers who threw in relief for the Yankees this past season, sorted by FIP (note: yWAR is simply an average of fWAR and bWAR):

Once again Mariano was the Yankees’ best reliever for the 14th straight season. Mo’s triple slash of 1.80/2.81/3.65 was as good as it’s ever been, and he has continued to defy all logic and reason by remaining one of the AL’s elite closers despite being 40 years old (Mo turns 41 at the end of November).… Click here to read the rest

Would trading for Dan Haren have changed the outcome of the Yankees' season?

On Wednesday, commenter Phil raised what I thought was a pretty interesting notion, one that I really hadn’t thought about at all since July — what if the Yankees had consummated the rumored trade for Dan Haren, and how might that have altered the outcome of the season?

Now, the idea of going back and tossing out all of the crappy Dustin Moseley/Javier Vazquez, etc. starts and inserting what Haren did with the Angels, while tempting, has a spectacular amount of flaws. There are so many presuppositions that need to be made, and obviously the rotation would have continued to evolve and adapt based on how well/poorly certain guys were pitching, so it’s impossible to know exactly whose numbers he’d be replacing. There’s also obviously no way of knowing whether Haren would’ve pitched exactly the same way he pitched for the Yankees in his Angels’ outings, and also whether the Yankee offense would’ve performed the same way it did in the Moseley/Vazquez/Nova starts.… Click here to read the rest

Cano, Yankees pick Sabathia up, forge biggest comeback of season in beating Rangers 6-5 to take 1-0 lead in ALCS

So, that happened.

In a game in which CC Sabathia delivered his worst outing in pinstripes (a very un-Sabathia-like 4 innings of five-run ball) and the Yankees’ chances of winning fell as low as 2.9% as of the bottom of the sixth, the team surprised the ever-loving hell out of the entire baseball-watching world to rally back from a 5-0 hole after six innings and beat the Rangers 6-5 in Game 1 of the 2010 American League Championship Series.

Though the Yankees’ winning percentage was actually as low as 0.4% in the top of the ninth when they rallied off Jonathan Broxton and the Dodgers back on June 27, this was clearly the biggest comeback win of the season, given how high the stakes were.

Whereas C.J. Wilson came out throwing bullets and looking nearly unhittable, Sabathia was the complete opposite, giving up a three-run bomb to Josh Hamilton in the first inning before recording a single out. It looked as though CC might settle down, but three innings later he gave up a big two-run double to Michael Young that looked like it might be the death knell.… Click here to read the rest

Making the Case

Right after the rain delay ended last night, Jack Curry tweeted the following:

Yanks expect 11 pitchers for DS. CC, AJ, Andy, Phil, Mo, Wood, Joba, Logan, Rbrtsn r locks. Nova, Vazquez, Gaudin, Mitre fight 4 2 spots

Let’s lay out the case for each guy, then, and we’ll see what you readers think.

Javier Vazquez has a few things going for him: he’s a veteran and managers always like that in the playoffs. He’s also proven himself to be a good, sometimes great starter. Granted, we haven’t seen that much this year, but he does still have the ability to pitch well. At his best, he’s waist, chest, shoulders, and head above the other guys on this list. When he’s at his worst, though, he’s just as bad as the others.

If we’re going on recent performance then I guess it’s got to be Ivan Nova. While he’s had trouble going deep into games, he’s still pitched pretty well of late and that should hold some weight with the coaching staff and front office.… Click here to read the rest

Rain, solo home runs and relievers who probably won't even be on playoff roster undo Yanks in 7-2 loss to Rays

Once the skies came crashing open last night in the bottom of the third inning the Yankees’ fate was pretty much sealed. Down 1-0 to the Rays, barring an unexpected 15- to 20-minute rain delay A.J. Burnett‘s night was going to be over, and Joe Girardi was going to have to milk 5 2/3 innings out of a tired and thin bullpen.

I’ve been as vocal as anyone about Girardi’s seemingly endless stretch of bizarre moves this month; however in this case I’m not sure what other choices he had. I’d love to win the division as much as anyone else, but with the rain coming when it did he had to rely on the seedy underbelly of his bullpen to at least try to get the team to the 7th without digging the Yankees too deep a hole. Burning David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain or Kerry Wood in the 4th, 5th or 6th innings of a game you’d like to have but wasn’t critical would’ve been pretty wasteful, and considering the Yankees were ultimately only able to muster up two measly runs, proved to be the right call.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees swept in three-game set for first time all season in falling to Texas and Lee 4-1

Remember when people started getting all concerned about Cliff Lee a few weeks ago? Heh.

Lee once again showed why the Yankees will pay whatever it costs to lock his services up this winter, tossing eight masterful innings of two-hit, one-run ball in leading Texas to a 4-1 win and three-game sweep of the Yankees at home for the first time since 1996. It also marked the first time the Yankees were swept on the road this season and the first time the team was swept in a three-game series.

It sure has been an ugly week for the Yankees, who are now 1-6 in their last seven games and might be riding a nasty seven-game losing streak were it not for a timely Nick Swisher home run. However, things really aren’t quite as bad as they might seem. Consider the following:

1) The Yankees were three outs away from winning Saturday night’s game, and it required one of the rarest occurrences in baseball — Mariano Rivera being unable to shut the door — for the Rangers to pull the victory out.… Click here to read the rest

Pitching Updates: Hughes, Marte, Aceves

Joe Girardi provided the Yankee beat writers with three little nuggets of news about Yankee pitchers this morning. Mark Feinsand has the scoop:

Phil Hughes will be skipped one start in the Yankees rotation to limit his innings, Joe Girardi said before Wednesday’s series finale against Baltimore. Dustin Moseley will start Sunday in Texas, and Hughes will return to the rotation next Wednesday in Tampa.

Also, Girardi said Alfredo Aceves (back) will not return this season, and Damaso Marte (shoulder) will “probably not” be back in 2010.

The news on Hughes has been a long time coming. He has thrown more innings this season than ever before in his career, and the baseline high that the Yankees seem to be using comes from 2006. He has already thrown 50 or so more innings than he did in any of the previous three seasons. Whether due to a tired arm or something else, Phil’s stuff seems to have suffered over the last few weeks, with his fastball command lacking and his cutter having little bite.… Click here to read the rest

The Yankee rotation, and implications for October

Recently Yankeeist broke down the pitchers for the other AL teams who appear playoff-bound at this point in the season. Given the question marks surrounding the Yankee pitchers, now seems like a good time to take a closer look at the players taking the mound for the good guys.

CC Sabathia | In short, the dude’s a beast and I love watching him pitch. For those of you who love details, here are a few: CC is 8th in the AL in ERA, 15th in FIP, 9th in WAR (Fangraphs edition), and 2nd in innings pitched. All of those are great, but here’s why I love him: Of all the pitchers who have pitched to a better ERA this season, only Felix Hernandez has tossed more innings. Ask yourselves this, would you rather have CC Sabathia for seven innings, or C.J. Wilson and his slightly better ERA for six innings, plus one inning of fun from the Rangers’ ‘pen? (And that’s if Wilson gives you six innings, which is a post for another time.)

Andy Pettitte | In the past few seasons I can’t recall a player — nevermind a pitcher, but a player at any position — whose successful return from the DL meant more to his team.
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