This Isn’t Working

Ok, I admit it, Joba is lost right now.  I thought this plan to start him every 5th day would give him the stability he needed, but I was wrong, it hasn’t and the Yankees have a big problem on their hands.

And the problem isn’t specifically limited to Joba.  Let’s start with the facts.  One more win or one more Texas loss and they make the playoffs.   They also lead the Red Sox by five games and the Angels by 5-1/2 with their next six games against those two teams.  3-3 or better and they should win the AL East and clinch the best record in the AL and that is the key to the playoffs.

It is the key because it would allow them to pick the ALDS where you only need three starters and that brings us back to our problem.  The Yankees don’t really have more than three starters right now and three might be stretching it.  Andy Pettitte has a huge game tonight because he has to put the fears about his cranky arm to rest.  A.J. Burnett looked a lot better last time out, but we need to see that again this week against prime competition to believe it.  If those two pass their tests then the Yankees enter the playoff with a 1-2-3 that’s good enough to win.  If not, well….

But that still leaves an empty hole where a fourth starter should go and if the Yankees reach the ALCS they will need a fourth starter.  That’s why I think they have to remove Joba from the rotation and think outside the box.

Let’s start with Joba.  He has thrown 146-2/3 innings this season.  Even if he didn’t throw another pitch this year, it would be reasonable to assume he could make it to 180 next season.  But he is going to throw more innings this year I just hope he does it from the bullpen.  Let’s move him back to the pen and get him ready to pitch in relief in the playoffs.  With a combination of Hughes and Joba in front of Rivera, the Yankees would have the ability to drastically shorten playoff games.  You could ask your starter to give you five innings and then bring in Joba for two, Hughes for one and Mo for one.  That is probably the Yankees best chance to win in 2009.

Moving Joba out of the rotation means you need to find a potential fourth starter for the ALCS.  Chad Gaudin walks way too many guys, but he has pitched well since coming over.  He is now a starter since Girardi finally realized Mitre wasn’t cutting it and he gets the first crack.  But the Yankees need a contingency plan and that is where Ian Kennedy comes into the picture.  The Yankees need to get Kennedy out there and see if he can get big leaguers out.   

Kennedy pitched three perfect innings in AAA last week and struck out six.  The Yankees have him on the roster and there is no reason why they couldn’t stretch him out over the final weeks of the season to be able to pitch five innings.  As I noted above, with Joba in the bullpen that is all the Yankees need right now and if Kennedy can pitch five good innings, he becomes a candidate for the fourth starter spot in the playoffs.

All of this assumes the Yankees realize that the Joba plan isn’t working.  Cashman and Girardi have done a ton of things right this season, but they still show a troubling tendency to let things that are broken stay broken for far too long.  (For examples think of Mitre as a starter or Angel Berroa sitting on the 25-man roster)  Admitting Joba isn’t up to starting right now isn’t a stretch.  Having him pitch out of the bullpen at this point really won’t hurt his long term development and it would make the Yankees better.  Isn’t that what you want heading into October? 

Deadline Blog

Thanks to some NYC traffic, we are getting a little bit of a late start, but here’s what we know.

Washburn is going to Detroit

V-Mart to Boston

And the Yankees have added…Jerry Hairston Jr.   

3:48 One of the frustrating things right now is that we are hearing only one side of these deals.  Still don’t know who the Yankees gave up for Hairston.  

3:51 Red Sox traded LaRoche to Atlanta for Casey Kotchman. 

3:56 Heyman on MLB Network said that he believes the Red Sox think that Kotchman will adapt to a backup role better than LaRoche.  

3:58 Heyman puts the chances of a Halladay deal at -20%.

4:00 Joel Sherman reporting that the Yankees will have both Hairston and Shelley Duncan on the roster.  That probably means goodbye to Cody Ransom.  

4:03 It’s Victor Martinez bobblehead night in Cleveland tomorrow.  Can they ship those to Fenway now?  

4:05 Peter Gammons reporting that Nick Johnson is going to the Marlins and that Halladay may be on his way to the Angels.

4:07  Andy are you paying attention?  Rolen was traded for Edwin Encarnacion.  

4:22 Jason Stark reporting that nothing happened with Halladay

4:30 Heyman reporting the Padres have traded Peavy to the White Sox- AGAIN!

4:31 Yankees traded Chase Weems (single A catcher) for Hairston

4:34 Peavy has agreed to the trade with the White Sox according to Buster Olney

4:42 Hey Yankees’ fans, the White Sox traded their starter for tonight in the Peavy deal.  Not sure what their plan B is, but they might have to scramble because they haven’t had an offday in awhile.  

Wang’s Done

It’s official, Wang is out for the year.  As the article speculates, this could also be the end for Wang as the Yankees are very likely to non-tender him at this point. 

That’s a discussion for another day, for now the Yankees really need to come up with a new starter.  Mitre is a time bomb.  Joba is almost out of innings. 2-1/2 days until the deadline, what is Cash up to?

The Joba Math

The Yankees have 67 games left and that means Joba would be expected to start 13 more times this season.  Considering he has already thrown 95 innings, that would put him way over his suspected innings limit of 140. 

So, what exactly is the Yankees’ plan here?  If they want to keep him around 140 innings, they can probably only let him start 5 more times before pulling him out of the rotation and putting him back in the bullpen.  I have three theories as to what they are doing.

1- Either Aceves or Hughes will start to transition back to the rotation soon and take Joba’s place with Joba heading back to the pen.  The problem with this theory is that it would have been simple to keep Aceves starting over the past few weeks and I can’t believe they are suddenly going to reverse course again.  Which leads me to theory 2….

2- The Yankees had a plan at the start of the year which was to open with Joba in the rotation and Hughes in the AAA rotation.  Pitch Joba until he gets close to his innnings limit and then bring Hughes up to fill his role.  If one of the other starters got hurt you still had Aceves and Kennedy in AAA waiting to help out.  Sitting here on July 24th, the Yankees haven’t figured out what to do now that this plan is blown out of the water.  The problem with this theory is why would they have swapped Aceves back to the bullpen if this was true?

3- We are totally misreading this innings limit issue.  The Yankees used the number 140 last year, they haven’t said a number this year and our guesses are way off and they intend to use him for 160 or 170 innings.  The problem with this theory is that the Yankees are very conservative with pitchers and they know the research shows you are risking injury if you jump a pitcher by more than 30 innings a year.  Joba pitched 112 innings in 2007 and 100 in 2008, would they really jump him up to 160 knowing that? 

So, three theories and three problems with them.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.   

CF Swap

Mark Feinsand of the Daily News is reporting that the Yankees are going to trade Melky Cabrera to the Milwaukee Brewers for Mike Cameron.

From Feinsand:

"Cameron, a former Met, hit .243 with 25 HRs and 70 RBIs in 120 games last season. He will earn $10 million in 2009."

Sabathia a Yankee

Or at least Joel Sherman of the NY Post says so.

Free Agent Crystal Ball

Here are Andy and Peter’s predictions for where the Top-10 free agents will end up.  As always take this with a grain of salt.  (We used Keith Law’s rankings on ESPN.com to determine the list) 

For the top free agent, Mark Teixeira, we both see him returning to the California Anaheim Orange County Greater Los Angeles Area Angels.  The Yankees and Red Sox remain possibilities, but remote ones.

Andy – Angels

Peter – Angels

Both of us agreed again on CC Sabathia ending up with the Yankees.  Money talks and the Yankees clearly are going to spend it here.

Andy – Yankees

Peter – Yankees

And we were in agreement on Manny Ramirez returning to the Dodgers.  Manny will definitely take the highest check, we just couldn’t see any other team giving him that.

Andy – Dodgers

Peter – Dodgers

Our first difference of opinion came on AJ Burnett.  Andy sees him heading to Texas noting that Texas always seems to make the wrong move with pitching.  Peter sees him heading back to Toronto, just with a bigger check in his pocket.

Andy – Rangers

Peter – Blue Jays

We agreed again on Derek Lowe with both of us seeing him heading back to Boston.

Andy – Red Sox

Peter – Red Sox

On the subject of Rafael Furcal we both saw him heading to the Bay Area, just to different teams.  Peter saw him heading to the Giants and Andy had him heading to the A’s.

Andy – A’s

Peter – Giants

Adam Dunn also divided out opinion with Andy sending him to Toronto and Peter seeing the Nationals getting him.

Andy – Blue Jays

Peter – Nationals

For Ryan Dempster we both saw him heading back to the Cubs, but with the proviso that if they trade for Jake Peavy, they won’t make the move.

Andy – Cubs

Peter – Cubs

While Andy sees Milton Bradley returning to Texas, Peter has him going to Toronto.

Andy – Rangers

Peter – Blue Jays

And that brings us to the final player, Oliver Perez.  Andy has him returning to the Mets while Peter swallowed hard and predicting that Perez will be a Yankee next year.

Andy – Mets

Peter – Yankees

What do you think?   

Thanks TBS

You really have to hand it to TBS and their "router failure" last night, what a joke.  Maybe it failed because it saw one thousand too many "Frank TV" ads?  (Side note, I love Frank Caliendo and think he is one of the most talented comedians out there, but I am not going to watch his show out of spite at this point.  There is such a thing as overkill and TBS has gone way, way over that line with these promos.)

The oddsmakers have favored the Red Sox tonight by 1-1/2 runs, which makes sense.  At this point, momentum and everything else are on the Boston side and it would be very surprising if Tampa pulls this out.  You know they are going up there thinking "we were seven outs away from winning this thing" and that is not going to help them in tight spots tonight.  (Side note #2, for those of you thinking I am rooting against the Red Sox, I am not, I really want both teams to lose I just can’t figure out how to make that happen.  Whatever happens tonight, go Phillies!)  At least the playoffs have finally giving us a compelling game.  The first round was pretty bad and the NLCS was miserable.  We have a real series here and as a baseball fan I am thankful (again see side note #2). 

In off the field news, Joba Chamberlain was pulled over for a DUI.  Joba isn’t talking and the Yankees aren’t talking which is absolutely the wrong approach to take at this point.  Driving around with an open container of alcohol in your car shows a blatant disregard for others.  We keep hearing stories about Joba and his Dad and what a good job his Dad did raising him, well time to walk that walk.  This may just be a dumb mistake, but it is a terrible example to kids and Joba needs to step up and admit it and apologize for it. 

Anyway, enjoy the game tonight, should be interesting to say the least. 

UPDATE: Joba has apologized, good for him.  

Cash Is Back

Great news, the biggest question off the offseason has now been answered, our GM is back.  Now we can focus on the business of baseball.  My plan is to spend the next couple of days going though 40-man roster and giving a thumbs up or down on who should return.  The Yankees have a number of free agents and some prospects in the minors who will need to be protected.

What do you think, are you happy Cash is back? 

This Was Pretty Cool

I have followed Pat Venditte since last year when the Yankees drafted him in the 45th round and I was happy to see that they selected him again this year after he returned to school.  He is an ambidextrous pitcher, like Greg Harris, but unlie Harris, the Yankees appear willing to let him throw from both sides as evidenced by this story.  (They actually showed this on the news the other night and it was hysterical to watch)

It’s a long way from Staten Island to the majors, but Venditte will be fun to follow.  Note to self, time to go to a SI Yankees game.