Finally!

The Yankees are finally going to try someone new in the pen, David Robertson.  Just heard it on WFAN, though they don’t know who is getting sent down.  33 innings, 48 K’s and 16 walks at AAA this year with 0 HR’s allowed.  The guy has frequently been mentioned as a possible 8th inning solution and while I don’t think the Yankees will try him out there right away, it’s nice to see the Yankees trying something new.

Ian Kennedy is starting for Tampa today and you have to think he will get back to New York quickly if he is healthy and remotely effective.   

UPDATE: Thankfully, it is Kei Igawa back to Scranton.  Seeing him last night was enough for awhile.  

Yikes!

Too say the Yankees stunk this afternoon is an understatement.  Now they head to Shea to play another game with Sidney Ponson getting the call?  Ugh, I feel somewhat sick right now.

One question, if Girardi doesn’t trust Dan Giese to pitch out of a jam with the lead in the fifth, why is he in the rotation?  I am not saying it was the wrong call by Joe, but I hope it means the Yankees look for a different answer next time around.  

And, Ohlendorf really has to go back to Scranton and work some things out.   

Since We Are Into Recycling….

Sir Sidney is starting tomorrow, back in a Yankee uniform after racking up an ERA over 10 in 16 innings in 2006.  On the way back, he got in some sort of altercation in a bar the night before he was starting. But, the Yankees aren’t worried about that or the fact he stunk the last time he was here.
 
So, when I read this story, I realized what move we can expect next from the Yankees.  Russ Ohlendorf, look out because Shawn’s coming back and he will want his #39 back.  I don’t know where Kris Wilson is, but he should give Cashman a call. 

Hall Bound?

With the announcement that Curt Schilling is done for the year and possibly his career (although his recent surgery went well and it is being said he can start throwing in October), the question of whether he is or is not Hall worth has come up.  While it’s not certain he is done and it is probably disrespectful to assume he is, let’s do just that and assume he’s pitched his last pitch for sake of this argument.

If ever there was a borderline candidate, Schilling is it.  His main negative is that he has only 216 wins.  Aside from that, Schilling compares nicely to other Hall of Famers.  He is 14th all time in strikeouts and 9th all time in K/9.  Baseball Reference has his HOF monitoring tools looking like he is at least an average HOF member.

At the end of the day though, what drives his candidacy more than anything is his post-season record.

19 Games, 19 GS, 11-2, 2.23 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 133.1 IP, 104 H, 24 BB, 120 K

When it mattered most, Schilling dominated, but just what does 133.1 IP mean to a player’s over contribution to the game?  Well those 133.1 IP were far more important than any of the innings he pitched in regular season games.  I don’t know of any way to rate him against his peers in post-season performance, but I’d be willing to guess he fairs nicely.

To look at only wins is crazy, especially since much of what drives a pitcher’s win/loss record is the offense behind him.  The same goes for a batter.  Tony Gwynn’s teams made the playoffs only 3 times in his 20 year career.  Was that all his fault?  No, at least not entirely.

My vote, if I had one, would be yes.  What’s your vote?

Of more immediate concern is the condition of the Red Sox rotation with Schilling done for the year.  Bartolo is down with, presumably, a pulled love handle.  Daisuke is back.  What is most amazing about this rotation now is that Jon Lester and Justin Masterson are pitching like the 1-2 with Josh Beckett just behind them.  Even Tim Wakefield is keeping them in games for the most part (although his walk rate is crazy high…as is Daisuke’s).

So despite not having Schilling and missing Colon, the Red Sox seem to be in good shape.  But once again, the axiom that you can never have enough starting pitching is proving true and more and more pitching is being made available on the trade market with C.C. Sabathia and now Erik Bedard on the block.

As for the Red Sox offense, it is actually scoring more runs per game since David Ortiz’s injury than prior (courtesy of ESPN) and that can mostly be attributed to J.D. Drew.  Yes, I said J.D. Drew.  ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has a good look at Drew and perhaps why he is hitting the cover off the ball.

Of course if Ortiz doesn’t bounce back, there are rumors about an offensive replacement as well.  Mark Teixeira and Josh Willingham have been mentioned.

Follow-up to my May 17th post on Micah Owings.  Basically, Owings has pooped the bed offensively.  He’s gone 2-19 (.105/.190/.105) .  Sorry to jinx you Micah and let’s put this to rest, you are not the next Babe Ruth.

Three Conclusions From Tonight

I draw three conclusions from this debacle

1- The Yankees have two very injured outfielders in Matsui and Damon.  How else do you explain pinch hitting Molina?  I mean stop and think about this for a sec, I know Rasner needed to be pulled, but what makes you think he has less of a chance of getting on base than Molina?  I guess we know why Christian was called up and you can only hope that these injuries won’t linger. 

2- Edwar Ramirez is still a one-trick pitcher and that trick isn’t going to cut it on the ML-level.  

3- Rasner now has an ERA of 4.5 which is closer to where his ERA should be.  He obviously overachieved when he first came up and now the law of averages is catching up with him.  The Yankees can hope for better, but I think they would settle for something around a 4.75.   If the bullpen does its job, the Yankees would probably win more of Rasner’s starts than they would lose which is about all you can ask from a fifth starter.  (Paging Ian Kennedy, your career can get back on track now, paging Ian Kennedy)

Other than that, turn the page, turn the page. 

Interesting….

George King is reporting that the Yankees are recalling Justin Christian from Scranton for tonight’s game.  Christian had an .815 OPS in Scranton and 18 steals in 21 attempts.  Christian started out at second base before moving to the outfield where he has played all three spots. He is a righty, though at 28, too old to be considered a true prospect.

What he can do is absolutely fly, 191 steals since he started in the minors and he has been rated as the fastest guy in the system a couple of times.  With three lefties scheduled for Pittsburgh, I wonder if the Yankees have noticed that Melky can’t hit lefties and are thinking about a platoon in center?  It would certainly make sense and at the very least, Christian gives them a real speed threat off the bench.

I wonder who is getting sent down to make room?  Could this be the end of the three catchers?  Stay tuned and we will see what happens.   

A Little More On Gardner

Check out this story from tonight’s Scranton game via Chad Jenning’s blog.

Brett Gardner just scored from second on a routine ground out. Seriously.

One out. Gardner at second, Basak at first. Both runners were running on the pitch and Duncan grounded weakly to short. Gardner trotted into third easily and when the shortstop threw to first, he turned on the speed and scored without a play. Earlier in the inning, JD Closser scored on a Basak single, and later in the inning, Basak scored on a single from Juan Miranda.

I really have to see this guy in action.  Too bad I am too cheap to shell out $30 for the MILB package, hopefully YES will show one of the Scranton games soon. 

How Much Longer Do You Stick With Melky?

The Yankees have been taking advantage of their soft schedule and racking up some wins (this weekend being an exception) but there are still some storm clouds on the horizon.  Robinson Cano has an OPS under .600 and Melky Cabrera is hitting .227 in June with an OPS under .600. 

You can’t do much with Cano, he is signed to a big deal and he has enough of a track record to warrant patience.  (Even if it is really hard to be patient as he hacks at every first pitch.)  The same cannot be said of Melky.  Cabrera is approaching 1300 AB’s in the bigs and his career line of .271/.335/.384 is starting to look like his true value.  Yes, he can play great defense and he can run, but the Yankees need more than that, especially with Wang on the DL.  And, as luck would have it, the Yankees have someone at AAA who might be able to help out.  Brett Gardner is currently producing at a clip of .292/.392/.432 in Scranton.  He also has 29 steals and plays great defense.  At what point do the Yankees bring him up, stick him in center and see what happens? 

I am not sure Gardner or Melky is a long term answer.  I think the Yankees long term solution in center is Austin Jackson, but we won’t see Jackson until 2010 in the Bronx.  So, the Yankees have a gap to bridge and I am not sure how much longer they will let Melky try and fill it.  Melky is still only 23 and he is actually younger than Gardner, but the Yankees may realize that they are ultimately choosing between fourth outfielders here and go with the hotter hand.  With almost half the season gone, you couldn’t blame them.   

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. 

Sir Sidney Returns?

Is this how bad things have gotten?  The Yankees just signed Sidney Ponson!  Seriously, the guy bombed here in 2006 and just got released by Texas for getting drunk in a bar among other things.  I know the Yankees need some pitching depth right now and they need a starter for June 27th, but this is plain stupid.  What’s the point of this move?  Why bother with this guy?

On a side note, what does this signing mean in terms of Kei Igawa?  I don’t want Igawa pitching for the Yankees either, but the fact that the Yankees would pull Ponson off the scrap heap can’t be a good sign for his future prospects in New York.

And, to add to the comedy, Joe Girardi said tonight that LaTroy Hawkins is his new long reliever with Giese in the bullpen.