"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Shaddap Shutting Up


In his preview, Cliff mentioned that the Yanks are ripe for a letdown but he didn’t think it would happen. Then during the game, Yankee announcer Michael Kay, and his cohorts Al Leiter and Paul O’Neill, discussed at length why the Yankees would not have a letdown (sometimes I really think these guys get paid by the word).

So what happened? The Yanks went out and lost to the Jays 5-4, their winning streak halted at seven.

Sergio Mitre was not impressive, allowing five runs–though just three earned thanks to an error by Robinson Cano–in five innings. He did give up a long home run to Lyle Overbay and that was the difference. I wonder if he’ll get another chance to start a game for the Yankees.

The Yanks did not score after the fourth inning though they had several chances, collecting 11 hits in all but going 0-5 with runners in scoring position. In the top of the eighth, O’Neill said, “As good as the Yankees are playimg, something’s about to happen; the fans feel it, the opposing team feels it.” Jorge Posada fouled off fastballs and sliders from left-handed reliever Jesse Carlson. O’Neill said the pitcher didn’t have the stuff to get him out. Posada whiffed on the twelfth pitch of the at-bat (good slider, down and in). Carlson then got Cano and pinch-hitter Johnny Damon to ground out. The crowd was sitting on their hands and O’Neill was silent.

It’s not that one loss is a big deal, but I got the sense that, riding the weekend high, the announcers assumed the Yanks would come back and win simply because they are the better team and should win. Well, the Toronto bullpen was excellent. And winning is hard. O’Neill of all people knows this But he’s not a fan.

Hey, sometimes it’s easier to be frustrated with the dopey announcers than it is with the team.

Oh, and the Red Sox won and shaved a game off the Yankees’ lead. Bummer.

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 Joseph   ~  Aug 10, 2009 10:49 pm

It's time for the Sergio Mitre experiment to end. For Christ's sake, even Sidney Ponson would pitch a decent game once in a while. Mitre has been lousy and taxes the pen every time out. Let him work out his issues at Scranton, if it's even doable, and give somebody else a shot next time around.

2 tocho   ~  Aug 10, 2009 10:56 pm

Lost in the recap was the excellent work by Aceves; efficient, quick and effective. he's a very good weapon out of the bullpen to keep the team in the game when the starter doesn't have it.

I have to say, as much as Mitre was bad, the offense was worse. Many at-bats were poorly executed, especially by Teix, Swisher, Posada and Melky. They were very jumpy.

The 5th starter may come up 5 more times in the season, I think the Mitre experiment must end and give way to the Gaudin experiment. Just hope the yanks' other starters continue to be healthy...

as for the lead, let's not forget the yanks were 2.5 games ahead on Thursday and I for one was completely happy about it. 5.5 on August 10 is great.

we'll get them tomorrow.

3 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 10, 2009 11:00 pm

[1] Mitre is the 5th starter, and that's about what he's done.

FWIW, his xFIP (not including tonight) is 4.34 - second best among everyone who's currently a starter. xFIP is a better predictor of future performance than ERA, ERA+, FIP, etc. His 2 HR allowed tonight is not going to help his xFIP, but his 1 BB and 6 K in 5 IP will.

There's no reason they can't keep using Mitre as the 5th starter. Ponson's xFIP, BTW, is 4.94 - the same as Carl Pavano's - or more than half a run higher than Mitre's..

4 Rich   ~  Aug 10, 2009 11:07 pm

[3] I don't think those stats are worth much given the SSS.

Mitre should be working his way back from TJ surgery at SWB.

They have better options to be the 5th start in the middle of a penant race.

5 monkeypants   ~  Aug 10, 2009 11:31 pm

[3] I dig the advanced stats, man, but this has to be a case of a metric failing to account for player at the extreme end of the spectrum. Every hit save one was line drive or a bomb, and his defense snagged a couple of hot shots (including one he threw away into CF for an error...on Cano). When he gets hit, which is often, he gets hit hard. If anything, he was lucky good tonight, and he was still bad.

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Aug 10, 2009 11:40 pm

was at the game tonight, honestly not all that upset about it. I was of the mind that they were due for a letdown, and with Mitre on the mound I was assuming it would be more of the 12-2 variety. Instead it was a pretty tight, well played game that the Yankees were just on the wrong end of.

To me the real news of the game isn't how blah Mitre was, thats to be expected, but how good Aceves looked...thats something that will have more long-term impact on this team than a random Sergio Mitre start.

7 monkeypants   ~  Aug 10, 2009 11:47 pm

[3] Mitre is the 5th starter, and that’s about what he’s done.

Mitre has now started five games. Before tonight's game, there were 103 pitchers in the AL who had started five or more games. Compared to those 103 pitchers, Mitre's 23 innings would rank last, his 1.91 WHIP would rank 99, and his 7.04 ERA would rank 95.

Mitre is not pitching "about what" a fifth starter does. He is pitching far worse. Most teams, even bad ones would have pulled the plug before fives starts, which is why there are are so few (if any) starters who have five starts and equally bad combined numbers.

8 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:00 am

I have a serious question that's been bugging me for a while. A lot has been made (and rightfully so) of how the Red Sox gambles have all bombed. But, at least their gambles had some potential. If John Smoltz had anything left in the tank, that's an awesome weapon.

When was the last time the Yankees went out and got someone that was once someone good and gave it a shot? Al Leiter? They seem to have fallen in love with picking up the worst of the worst never wases and trying to turn them into something they're incapable of being. Mitre and Gaudin and Tomko and Russ Ortiz and Ponson and Ponson and so on and so forth.

I've long believed that the decision makers in the front office are more concerned with making a name for themselves ("What a genius [X] is! Look how much he got from scrap heap signing [Y]!) than actually helping the team. I think that's why Ponson keeps coming back. Its why I think we stubbornly hold on to proven failures, because giving up is publically admitting a mistake. And its been annoying me for years.

9 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:03 am

[3] I need to ctach up..no idea what any of those stats are..

[8] Vincent Padilla? Posada and Tony Pena would keep him on his best behavior..guy can still pitch..it's an idea!

10 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:11 am

[9] No, that would be the Sidney Ponson category.

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:24 am

[10] Twas a joke! Padilla and Joe G in the dugout together? And that Tex bad blood?
This 5th starter nonsense is annoying..just go back to the 4-man rotation :)

12 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:32 am

[11] Four-man rotation for the win!

Matt, does Roger Clemens in 2007 count? He was expensive, but given his age and his partial season, I think he was a comparable risk to Smoltz this year.

What about them persisting with Bernie past his expiration date? That's roughly the same thing.

13 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:33 am

[8] When was the last time the Yankees went out and got someone that was once someone good and gave it a shot.

Dotel? Lieber?

On balance, however, I think the reason the don't is the same reason why the Yankees often have an awful bench. They are top heavy. They spend a ton of money on the mega stars, and overpay the lesser stars, which leaves little money for high end gambles.

Speaking of depth, it's great to have Hinske and Hairston, but Ransom just cleared waivers, so he has accepted assignment to SWB.

Seriously? Nothing personal, but he stinks. He has no place on the Yankees' roster under any reasonable circumstance, and the proof is that no team wants him for free, not even the Nats. or the Mets, who found a place for Berroa

Yet now he's the thing that wouldn't leave, and may be recalled and waste get ABs in September.

That's beyond absurd. It's a disgrace.

14 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:33 am

Oh, and per Alex, I don't think that was a let-down loss. They bounced Zeppo in the fourth, fought back early, and put the tying run on in the ninth. Let-down games generally find the offense sleepwalking.

15 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:35 am

[12] I omitted Clemens because of the price tag, but whether or not he ultimately qualifies is up to Mattpat. ;)

16 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:36 am

[13] Please, have you looked at the rest of the SWB roster? And you're going to trust the Mets for player evaluations? Besides, Ransom's not on the Yankees' roster anymore. When a player gets DFAed he's removed from the 40-man. He'd have to be put back on to return, even in September.

17 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:42 am

[16] You're right, I forgot about the 40 man roster aspect, but I stand by my comment that he doesn't belong at SWB, and let's be honest, the Mets are right about him.

18 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:51 am

[17] You're overestimating the quality of triple-A players. A lot of them are roster filler so that guys like Austin Jackson have a team to play on. Seriously, look at the roster: Kevin Cash, Chris Stewart, Doug Bernier, Yurendell de Caster, heck, Eric Duncan at this point. Do you honestly believe those guys are better ballplayers than Cody Ransom to the point that Ransom is horribly out of place among them?

19 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 1:14 am

I don't think the Yankees lost because of a let down. They lost because they stubbornly refuse to accept that Sergio Mitre is awful. As good as the offense is, they can't be expect to always play from behind.

[3] We've discussed FIP with regard to Mitre in several game threads, so I wont rehash the debate. I will add, however, that the reason to not keep using Mitre as a fifth starter is because he has been awful for four starts and really taxed the bullpen.

[8] The Yankees don't pick up high risk players because they wind up getting prime stars. I'll take CC, AJ and Tex anyday over Smoltz, Penny and Baldelli. The Red Sox could wind up spending close to $15mn for the three previously named. It's not like they got those guys on the cheap.

20 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 1:16 am

[14] The offense could have been better, but I mostly agree. The Jays bullpen did pitch well. Also, you have to account for Molina out at the bottom of the lineup as well as the absence of Matsui and Damon.

21 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 1:18 am

[18] I understand. I just don't want to add to that with more subreplacement level players. It's the single biggest failing of this organization.

22 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 11, 2009 1:29 am

[21] that's a compliment to the organization

23 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 11, 2009 2:10 am

I wouldn't include Roger because he wasn't really a gamble. We didn't sign him to a make good contract. He was a top free agent, albeit limited to three teams. He had nothing to prove we expected a certain level of play from him.

Lieber is a good one, although Leiter came after that.

24 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 11, 2009 2:14 am

[23] How many players fit your criteria in general? There are only so many former All-Stars looking to sign make-good contracts, and most of them are in that position because they're not good anymore. I think it's a supply issue, not a demand issue. Smoltz is available now. Do you want him? What about Tom Glavine? Did you want Pedro? Only one of those guys has a team right now . . . for a reason.

25 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 2:22 am

[22] Maybe, but otoh, it reflects their suboptimal drafting of position players, and their seeming inability to prevent so many of their young pitchers from needing TJ surgery, or to enable others to make a full recovery from it.

When they make mistakes on the ML roster, they can use their huge payroll advantage to compensate for them. It's harder to do on the mL level.

So I would say that it's a backhanded compliment, at best.

26 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 11, 2009 2:33 am

[25] Ah. See, you were treating the symptom as the cause. Ransom isn't the problem. It's the lack of position player prospects. I completely agree, but Ransom isn't blocking anyone and he's not going to alter how they draft in 2010. He's not the problem. Someone has to play in the Triple-A infield, and if Hairston or Pena gets hurt, I'd rather have Ransom back than Bernier, etc.

27 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 2:38 am

[26] The Ransom thing was a rant. I should have made that clear. I apologize.

btw, What about Russo? I think he's healthy again.

28 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 11, 2009 3:04 am

[27] What about Russo? He is active again, and has a hot bat (just hit his first homer of the year), but he's a second baseman. With Pena back in the bigs, shortstop goes to Bernier or Ransom. I'll still take Ransom for an infield of Miranda, Russo, Ransom, and de Caster. Honestly, I'm glad to have Ransom back given the alternative.

If you're saying call up Russo instead of Ransom if Pena or Hairston goes down, it could work at the plate, but might not work in the field. Russo has played just six games at shortstop and the stats suggest he's not really cut out for short or third (I'd have to do some digging to come up with more on that, though).

29 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 11, 2009 4:04 am

[24] I don't want Smoltz now, but I would have taken the flyer on him back in the winter. I would have had no problems with trying Pedro.

You say that these guys don't have a team for a reason, but the same can be said for all the terrible pitchers the Yankees gobble up. The annual Sidney Ponson debacle occurs because no one else wants Sidney Ponson No one wanted Sergio Mitre. No one else cared enough to put in a claim on Chad Gaudin.

Maybe the Pedro's and Smoltz's and Glavines aren't any good any more. But I'd still try them before I try someone who was never any good.

30 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 6:21 am

[29] Perhaps the Yankees could have taken a flier on him, but Boston pretty much promised him a chance to start (for all the talk of their depth, they really did not have a firm fifth starter going into the season). The Yankees could not do that. In most cases, the Yankees can't guarantee playing time to reclamation projects, making them a relatively unattractive destination. Id’ rather the Yankees keep acquiring top level front-line players than have the “flexibility” to accommodate former star players rehabbing injuries.

31 seamus   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:27 am

[8] do you mean like kevin brown?

32 monkeypants   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:28 am

[26] It is worth noting, I think, that one of the excuses for not DFA'ing Ransom earlier is that "someone might claim him." Well, no one did, so if that had been the Yankees reasoning, they erred in overrated his talent (or perceived talent). No organization is perfect, but it does seem that that Yankees habitually make mistakes such as this with the bench and back rotation/back BP (regarding both position players and pitchers), which leads to some rather rather goofy and at times inexplicable roster decisions.

33 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:32 am

Ransom was good last year. He is NOT bad for an AAAA player.
If not for the bad throw/Cano error, it would have been a well pitched game (for a 5th starter)
Our bench now is decent. More flexibility then we've had in a while. JHJr will allow 5 different players a day off. It will be nice if/when Gardy comes back.
Lots of HRs for us. Not much RISP when behind. I don't care who the 5th starter is, you have to plan on scoring more then 4 runs when that slot comes up.
Actually, if someone tells Mitre you are allowed to throw between the knees and the thighs, he could be a decent #5.

This happens every time a guy plays poorly... even if he shows potential. People want him gone immediately. Then when you have a situation like C. Pena, people piss and moan that we didn't give him enough time. Cashman got Chad Gaudin, so I'll guess they're aware that Mitre sucks a bit. Maybe they feel they can give him a little more rope.

34 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:34 am

[32] I don't fault the Yankees for not being better at identifying better players to fill the bottom of the roster, but I do think they get very stubborn regarding these players. Perhaps other factors aside from performance are being considered, but there really is no reason why a Berroa, Ransom, Mitre, Tomko, etc. should spend so much time on the active roster.

35 monkeypants   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:38 am

[33]you have to plan on scoring more then 4 runs when that slot comes up.

How exactly do you plan to score more (indeed, possibly significantly more) for certain spots in the rotation?

If not for the bad throw/Cano error, it would have been a well pitched game (for a 5th starter)

And if not for a few a rockets that happened to find gloves, his start would have looked worse. Luck cuts both ways. He was pretty bad, and that was perhaps his best start.

I'm reallly having a hard time accepting the ol' "he was pretty good for a fifth starter" line [see [7]).

36 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:38 am

[33] Sergio Mitre's nickname should be "if not" because in all 5 starts it seems as "if not for [insert excuse]" he would have been ok. The bottom line is Mitre has been pretty awful, regardless of the "if nots". Mitre is not a guy who deserves patience. He has never had anything resembling a good season and that was before TJ surgery. He is basically rehabbing his arm on the Yankees watch, which makes no sense for a team trying to win a World Series.

37 monkeypants   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:40 am

[34] It's two sides of the same coin. You and Mattpat call it "stubbornness." I think it is habitually overvaluation of marginal players. Either way...

38 monkeypants   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:42 am

[35] Maybe he got the idea from Octavio Dotel?

39 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 7:44 am

[37] The result is the same..I just can't believe they actually think these guys are any good. That's why I mentioned other factors being involved. Maybe it's money (saving a million here and there is meaningful to even the Yankees)...maybe it's clubhouse impact (having constant turnover might be bad for moral?)...I am just grasping at straws. I've lost any faith in Girardi, but I'd at least like to think Cashman can see that the names being discussed have no business on the Yankees 25-man roster.

40 Andyroo   ~  Aug 11, 2009 8:12 am

Perhaps instead of the Mitre experiment or the Chad Gaudin experiment, this should be the Aceves experiment? He went 4 innings last night, and I think 3 one night against boston. Could they be stretching him out to take the 5th spot? He's certainly looked better than Mitre. Or is he too valuable in the pen?

41 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 8:31 am

FWIW, Cano's error was rightfully changed to Mitre

[31] Kevin Brown came off a solid year with the Dodgers, and was doing fine in NY up until he punched the clubhouse wall.

[34] It depends on the circumstances, but it happens around the league more often than not. Chris Woodward and Nick Green are gainfully employed. The Sox put in a claim on Christian Guzman. Miguel Cairo is still playing.

[39] It's only temporary. It would be different if these last guys on the bench were blocking someone. But looking @ rosters over the years, they've always existed, whether it's Clay Bellinger, Andy Fox, Homer Bush, Scott Pose, etc, etc, etc.

42 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 8:34 am

Or is he too valuable in the pen?

I dunno, whether they move Aceves, Gaudin or Hughes to the rotation, I would think they have enough arms in the pen.

43 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 8:49 am

[34] I am not suggesting the Yankees are doing a bad job because they have a Cody Ransom or Sergio Mitre. I just think they should have very short leashes with these kinds of players. Basically, I think the best strategy is to try and find lightning in a bottle when you don’t have any reasonable expectations. Sometimes you do get lucky (see Aaron Small), but usually the impact is immediate. I can’t recall many instances of a retread struggling through an early chance before busting out. Basically, these kinds of players either fail miserably or have an inexplicable hot streak (which is usually brief). As soon as the retread falters, I see no reason to be patient.

[42] I don't Aceves is too valuable in the pen because he isn't better than Hughes, whom the Yankees seem more than willing to underuse. The easy solution would be to make Aceves the starter and bump Hughes up form his fractional inning appearances that have become so common lately.

44 rbj   ~  Aug 11, 2009 8:51 am

[40] If Aces is going 3-4 innings in relief, you aren't going to be able to use him that often anyway. I'd say he's earned the right to take Mitre's spot. I agree with the earlier comment that Sergio would be better off rehabbing TJ down in SWB.

I'm not going to be upset at last night's game, or even that Mitre was starting. I doubt there has ever been a team with a good #5 starter, excepting, perhaps 1998. You win 60 games, you lose 60 games. It's what you do with the other 42.

BTW, isn't Joba creeping up on his innings limit? Is there a plan to swap him & Hughes or something?

45 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 11, 2009 8:58 am

You guys are right. It wasn't a letdown loss. It was ME who was letdown. That's on me not the team.


(never write in anger, never write in anger)

46 monkeypants   ~  Aug 11, 2009 8:59 am

[44] The 5th starter doesn't have to be good. He could, however, be better than the worst starter in the league (see [7]).

47 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:01 am

[44] You're not alone, but I don't get that logic that says just because most teams have a bad 5th starter it's ok for the Yankees to have one as well. Also, as monkeypants has repeatedly pointed out, Mitre ranks at the very bottom in most categories for pitchers with at least 5 starts. So, the fact is very few teams are regularly giving a turn to someone as bad as Mitre.

Even if you want to dismiss the Sox and Rays as a threat to the division, the Angels remain very close to the Yankees. Assuming they make it that far, one or two games could be the difference between playing a game-7 at YS versus Anaheim. I think that a big deal. If jettisoning Mitre results in that one extra win that allows the Yankees to have home field, it is definitely worth trying to improve, especially when just about anyone would result in at least a marginal upgrade.

48 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:02 am

[45] A lesson from which we all could benefit.

49 rbj   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:02 am

[46] Correct, but you won't know that until you give him a chance. I think he's had that chance now. And that throw to Cano was tailing away, should be an error on the pitcher, not the second baseman.

50 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:04 am

[49] Then you agree that Mitre has run his course?

The error was changed to Mitre after the game.

51 The Hawk   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:10 am

I still think the hitters had a let down yesterday, but I'm not bent out of shape about it. It's only natural really, and their lack of patience almost worked in their favor anyway - though now that I think about it, that's sometimes the case with Jeter and Cano anyway.

Going from 6.5 to 5.5 isn't a big deal; it could go right back to 6.5 tonight. I try not to go day-by-day with the standings, checking in at the end of the week. Unless the Yanks are behind, then I have trouble doing that ...

52 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:14 am

[46] Well, the Red Sox's fifth starter has been either John Smoltz (8.32 ERA) or Dice-K (8.23 ERA), and for the longest time, the Yanks' 5th starter was Wang (9.64 ERA, including relief appearances) - so Mitre (7.04 ERA) passes that hurdle.

Besides, the whole point with using xFIP instead of ERA is to better predict what Mitre will do going forward. ERA is great for saying what he has done, but its predictive value is very, very low. xFIP (The Hardball Times has it) and QERA (BP) are far better at predicting what he does going forward. I don't know if the small sample of Mitre's IP affects it [4] - but I am saying I'd rather see Mitre out there than any of the guys they have at AAA. I may be biased, but I'd also rather go with the younger guy who might yet do something versus the older guy who is on his last legs at best. From my perspective, I see no upside in the Smoltzs and Pedros of the world - completely different story if the Yanks were in the NL though.

Gaudin (4.34 xFIP) may be a better option than Mitre, and I'd be all for giving him a shot.

53 ms october   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:15 am

[8] they did try to get andruw jones and he turned them down.
but i do agree on the pitching front - i'd rather they have taken a gamble with pedro say as opposed to mitre.

anyway, hopefully we'll have a dead horse pitching in the 5th spot soon.
i am in mp, william, et al's camp - pull the plug on mitre - paraphrasing denny green - he is who we thought he is. have to hope gaudin is better or move aceves to the rotation and bring melancon back up. the 5th starter cannot continue to be one of the worse starters in the league, continue to tax the pen and potentially have a negative impact on the joba plan.

54 rbj   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:16 am

[50] Yup. I'd rather see Aceves out there, or a double headed Hughes-Aceves out there, to stretch out Phil & build up his innings. I don't know whether Sergio is actually a bad pitcher or a decent pitcher who needs more AAA level rehab. I do not mind having the Mitre experiment, but I think now, with only 50 games left, that we have enough data that he shouldn't be in the rotation.

Glad to hear they made the change. I wound up falling asleep for the last couple of innings last night.

55 Andyroo   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:21 am

[44] "BTW, isn’t Joba creeping up on his innings limit? Is there a plan to swap him & Hughes or something?"

This concerns me as much or more than the 5th spot. Personally, I'd like to see them do the swap with enough time for them both to be comfortable down the stretch. So our late/post season could look something like:



56 Andyroo   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:25 am

and.....I should hit refresh before I post.

57 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:26 am

Kevin Brown's 2003 season with the Dodgers should be viewed in the context of him pitching his home games in an extreme pitcher's park, and it should be noted that he had pre-existing back problems, which is not an insiginifcant concern at age 39.

58 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:35 am

[52] The Red Sox have DFA'ed Smoltz. They have moved on from a failed experiment...and one with a greater expectation. Regardless, just because the Red Sox have an awful 5th starter doesn't mean the Yankees should be content with one as well.

Sample size is absolutely with xFIP. Also,, xFIP has many limitations. Furthermore, I've yet to see a study suggesting that it correlates to future ERA. Also, Mitre's LD% and HR/FB% are both very high. Those are two factors that xFIP ignores.

59 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:44 am

[28] Since one definition of insanity is doing the same thing that failed over and over again, I would take Russo over Ransom.

60 Joel   ~  Aug 11, 2009 9:54 am

With Joba's innings limit, Andy's age, and a problem with the #5 starter, the Yankees lack starting pitching depth for the stretch run and the playoffs.

As far as moving either Hughes or Aceves to the rotation, the Yanks have already taken an "If-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it" position and will leave those two right where they're at.

The Yanks will make another move for a starter by picking up someone expensive enough to clear waivers.

61 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:01 am

[610 You don't think it's reasonable to conclude that the 5th starter slot is broken?

62 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:01 am

Should be [60]

63 Joel   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:07 am

[61] Of course its broken. What is not broken is the way that Hughes and Aceves have solidified the bridge to Mo. The Yanks are not going to tinker with that.

64 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:09 am

Even if you want to dismiss the Sox and Rays as a threat to the division, the Angels remain very close to the Yankees. Assuming they make it that far, one or two games could be the difference between playing a game-7 at YS versus Anaheim.

FWIW, the Angels are running guys like Earvin Santana (5.34 FIP), Sean O'Sullivan (5.15) & Joe Saunders (5.56) to the mound every 5 days.

They have 3 Sergio Mitre's (4.95) in their rotation.

65 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:15 am

Kevin Brown’s 2003 season with the Dodgers should be viewed in the context of him pitching his home games in an extreme pitcher’s park

Yankee Stadium may not have been as extreme, but it was a pitcher's park as well. It should also be mentioned that Brown's 2003 (H/R) splits are pretty close

66 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:15 am

[63] As a result of the broken 5th starter spot, Aceves was used 4IP last not, so the bridge has already been tinkered with.

67 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:18 am

The Yanks will make another move for a starter by picking up someone expensive enough to clear waivers

I don't think that's necessarily prudent. Especially since they have 3 guys already on the staff in Aceves, Gaudin & Hughes that are capable of starting.

68 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:18 am

[64] So, the Yankees should shun improvement because the Angels starting rotation isn't very good? If the Yankees finish a game behind Anaheim, the fact their starters have high FIPs really wont come into play.

69 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:18 am

[65] I can't recall the park factor differential at this point, but it was pretty severe. I also neglected to mention that Brown, as a GB pitcher, played in front of a very good IF defense with the Dodgers. On the Yankees, not so much.

There is also the back situation that I referenced.

Let's face it. The trade was made out of desperation to dump Weaver, and because they weren't producing pitching prospects, which was not Cash's fault.

70 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:19 am

[66] not = night

Proof read, Rich!!!!

71 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:23 am

Something else lost in all this is how much a disaster Igawa has been. He hasn't even been considered as maybe a possibility for the 5th starter slot. The organization preferred to have guys like Ponson, Mitre, Towers, etc start than Igawa. They probably would activate Eiland to pitch a game for the Yankees before they'd give Igawa a call.

72 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:30 am

[71] Igawa has only pitched 70 innings, and even fewer since his initial trial by fire. There is no reason Mitre should be starting over Igawa (although neither is a good option), especially when you consider the money the Yankees have sunk into the latter. If anything, one or two good lucky starts could ignite some trade value to a NL team.

73 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:33 am

[72] What's the next move to free up a spot on the 40 man?

74 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:38 am

So, the Yankees should shun improvement because the Angels starting rotation isn’t very good?

You were the one who brought the Angels into the discussion. I'm pointing out that given that the Angels are running 3 Mitres out there that maybe the Yankees' situation isn't as dire as you think. Hell, they're running 3 guys out there that are WORSE than Mitre.

Context is important. #5 starters aren't all that good. They aren't supposed to be good. That's why they're number 5 starters.

I can’t recall the park factor differential at this point, but it was pretty severe.

Looking @ B-R, in 2003 Dodger Stadium's PF was 95 (94 multi year). Yankee Stadium in 2004 was 95 (97)

Let’s face it. The trade was made out of desperation to dump Weaver

Dump or not, they got a pretty good return out of it in Brown.

75 Joel   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:42 am

[66] Aceves' role in the bridge is being a long-innings guy--NOT a mop-up guy. Had the Yanks scored in the 8th or 9th, he would have been the bridge.

Aceves is the modern-day Ramiro Mendoza. IIRC Posada even compared him to Mendoza.

They're going to buy another starter.

76 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:43 am

Can anyone tell me what's going on in Toronto? Ricchardi allegedly asks for a king's ransom for Halliday, yet lets Alex Rios go for nothing?

Is he confusing Alex Rios for Vernon Wells? Something isn't right, am I missing something? Of the two, I'd keep Rios and it isn't even close.

77 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:44 am

Looking @ B-R, in 2003 Dodger Stadium’s PF was 95 (94 multi year). Yankee Stadium in 2004 was 95 (97)

For 2003, ESPN has YS at 19 and DS at 27.

Dump or not, they got a pretty good return out of it in Brown.

Well, his fragile psyche mooted that return.

78 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:47 am

[74] I brought the Angels into the discussion because they only trail the Yankees by two games. Who knows if the Angels will continue to get lucky? They consistently outperform their Pythagorean W-L%, so I'd rather win as many games as possible instead of depending on their luck to run out.

Futhermore, I am not suggesting the Yankees situation is dire. I am saying they have an obvious hole that they should try to fill. Also, for context, #5 starters might not be good, but they also do not have to be as bad as Mitre.

79 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:49 am

[76] Rios is owed over $60mn for the next 5 years. his career OPS+ is 104 and at 28 isn't a prospect anymore. With the state of the economy, guys like him are not worth what he is being paid, so the Wite Sox claim actually let Riccardi out of a bad contract.

80 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 10:50 am

[75] If he is used at 4IP an outing, he is not a bridge, he's a caddy.

The primary bridge to Mariano was Nelson and Stanton. But anyway, Mendoza started 11, 15, 14 games from 1996-98.

I'll believe that they will get someone better than Hughes or Aceves when I see it. Right now, I see a misuse of assets.

81 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:05 am

[79] Rios has been a full time player since 2004. This season is the only one where he may not outperform his contract. And the White Sox will probably move him to CF where he'll be worth more. That wasn't a bad contract JP gave him. Rios, while not a star, is a solid if not unspectacular player.

I'm baffled by the move.

82 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:10 am

[81] The contract is backloaded, so outperforming his salary will require significant improvements. Also, much of his value stems from defense. It remains to be seen if he will be as good in CF. It also remains to be seen if he is the player he was in 2006-2007 or the one in 2008-2009. At $12.5mn per year, that's an expensive gamble, especially in a deflated market. I think the way to look at is like this: if Rios was a free agent, would he get what remains on his deal? I think the answer is not even close.

83 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:11 am

[77] Thanks for the numbers

84 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:11 am

At least to some degree, the WS were able to take on Rios's contract because they dumped Swisher's contract.

But Swisher will be 29 in November and has a 113 career OPS+.

Rios will be 29 in February and has a 104 career OPS+ (although granted, Rios is better defensively).

85 ms october   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:12 am

[71] agree on igawa raf. that he is or is thought of as such a disaster that some of these options that are horrible in their own right are prefferable to him is something else.

[81] agree on this too. while it is a bad contract, rios is not such an awful player (and is solid, and i think will trend back up) that he should net no player in return. to think the giants and blue jays were actually having somewhat serious discussions about a lincecum/rios swap not that long ago.

86 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:16 am

Lincecum for Rios?

If so, Sabean should put the pipe down.

87 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:19 am

[84] Swisher is owed $16.75mn over the next two years. Rios is owed $60mn over the next five years. I don't think the trade of Swisher really clears space for Rios. Rather, I think the pending departure of Dye does that.

[85] Cashman said as recently as Thursday that he continues to get interest from clubs about Igawa and that he is not going to give him away. Well, if that's the case, they might as well give him a chance.

Rios could still rebound and approach his 2006-2007 performance, but I don't think the salary relief is inconsequential. If the Jays are able to sign another player to a $60mn/5-year deal, it will be like trading Rios for him.

88 RIYank   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:26 am

I think the key is that Ricciardi believes he can get a Rios-level player much cheaper in the current economic climate (think of Abreu).

Any chance we get to see Hughes for three innings if Joba is inefficient tonight??

89 Raf   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:27 am

Cashman said as recently as Thursday that he continues to get interest from clubs about Igawa and that he is not going to give him away.

Which is why I find Igawa's treatment puzzling. On the surface, it seems that they're content burying him @ AAA.

90 RIYank   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:28 am

If the Jays are able to sign another player to a $60mn/5-year deal, it will be like trading Rios for him.

This is not quite true, because signing a FA will cost them a draft pick and they don't get one for Rios.

91 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:36 am

[90] Not necessarily...with so many teams avoiding arbitration like the plague, it is more and more likely that no compensation would be involved.

92 RIYank   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:41 am

[91] Ah, that's true, good point. Yes, this off season could be very different from off-seasons passed...

93 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 11:57 am

[87] Rios is owed $21.7M over the next two years. That's close to being an offset over that time horizon.

94 Joel   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:02 pm

[80] You say "caddy" I say "bridge"... He's still not going into the rotation.

Gil Meche needs a change of scenery.

95 Yankster   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:15 pm

No offense to anyone but I have a hard time understanding the 5th pitcher argument. It sounds like several people are saying we should have a better fifth pitcher. It's hard to disagree with the idea that every slot should be improved.

Though it doesn't seem like it, even the Yankees are resource constrained. Abstractly, their optimal strategy is to have three or four exceptional pitchers in the rotation and then one or two less exceptional. The less exceptional cost dramatically less and are only used in the regular season, the exceptional pitchers cost exorbitantly more and have more leverage in the post season.

Personally, I'm comfortable with the Yankees sending out a below average pitcher every fifth game if it saves money for the other four pitchers. There might be a fair argument that Gaudin should start instead of Mitre, but I think we all agree it won't be a huge improvement - Gaudin is still a fifth starter.

Would taking a risk on Aceves as a starter be a good idea at this point? I think it depends on how much we need to increase our incremental win probability. The idea (at least my idea) is not to win every game, it's to win enough games to win the division with players healthy and ready for the playoffs (though even that "rested" conventional wisdom is probably exaggerated). It looks to me like Mitre or Gaudin can help us get to that goal, even though it might not be on a 102 win pace.

96 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:29 pm

[95] There are two parts to the argument: (1) the Yankees should have a better 5th starter because (2) they have a few potentially better options already on the roster. I think people are underestimating just how bad Mitre has been. With the Yankee offense and bullpen, 5 runs in 5 innings might not seem so bad, but it is. The Yankees goal should be to not only win the division, but also get home field. At this point, neither is a given. If Gaudin is only marginally better (let's say a 5.5 ERA instead of 7), that could be the difference in a game or two.

97 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 12:55 pm

[94] You say “caddy” I say “bridge”… .

The difference beyond the semantics, at least from my perspective, is that Mitre's ineptitude is skewing Aceves's contribution. Like Mendoza, he should be available for a variety of outings, including starting, but he's not able to do that because when he is being used, the outings are too long.

He’s still not going into the rotation

That's unfortunate use of the available personnel.

As for Meche, it's not going to happen. Cash has said that he couldn't have added Halladay's salary.

Here's Meche's remaining contract:

09:$11M, 10:$12M, 11:$12M

That's why the best option is to start Aceves (since Hughes has been ruled out).

98 Joel   ~  Aug 11, 2009 2:16 pm

I don't believe for a minute that it was about money with Halliday, it was about the players Toronto wanted. Meche would be a salary dump. The Yanks could get him for next to nothing. I don't know how much of 2009 they would have to pay him, but 2/$24mm for a durable 31 year-old American league-tested innings eater amounts to a pretty cheap FA signing.

99 Rich   ~  Aug 11, 2009 2:37 pm

[98] Then Cashman has a problem with his veracity because he told Francesa that player personnel assets aside, Hal would not have let him add Halladay's salary to the payroll.

You can listen to the interview yourself here.

I don't think Cash is a liar, but to each his own.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver