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Here’s your morning Yankee round-up:

At River Ave Blues, Mike Axisa covers the Joe Girardi deal while Ben Kabak notes that Leo Mazzone has interest in being the Yankees’ next pitching coach.

Over at Yankeeist, Mark Warden asks: Should they stay or should they go?

Jay Jaffe has a good, long post on Joba Chamberlain at the Pinstriped Bible, and Steve Goldman cautions to leave Cliff Lee alone (I’m with Steve on this one):

Even before last night’s Game 1 disappointment, I have been firmly convinced that the Yankees should not do what everyone expects them to do, and throw the gross domestic product of Luxembourg at the left-hander. In the last few years, Lee has become one of the great control artists of all time. And yet, he is also 31. He is at that same dangerous stage of life that so many other Yankees have reached, where the minor aches and pains of one’s 20s become the surgeries of one’s 30s. As with the A.J. Burnett contract, a Lee who is not in peak form will tie the team’s hands for years to come, soaking up dollars and a roster spot that would be better spent on the young.

…As in any casino game, when you bet on a pitcher, the odds are slanted in favor of the house. For teams with no other options, or a team geared up to win it all now and then sink back into the second division, giving a veteran starter a lot of money for too many years is a reasonable plan. That’s what the Mets did with Pedro Martinez, paying for four years when there was only a reasonable expectation that they might get two. In the event, they got one. Cliff Lee is younger than Martinez, and perhaps he’s a better bet health-wise, but there is no way to know for certain. The Yankees have choices, some of whom will be viable big leaguers three years from now, when whichever team signs Lee is trying to figure out the best way to get rid of him. The Yankees aren’t in that position. They have alternatives, choices they’ve spent good money on. Now is the time to test them and find the next Cliff Lee, or even the next Andy Pettitte. He could be lurking somewhere in the pile, and he won’t cost a fraction of what Lee does. If the Yankees leave Lee to others, they might even get to find out who he is.

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1 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 29, 2010 9:45 am

I'm with you and Steve on Lee. A long term deal isn't one I'd feel comfortable with. If they could get him for 3 years, then that's another story, but I don't think it will happen.

My "ideal" rotation, if Lee is not in the cards, would be CC-Andy-Phil-AJ-Joba, with Nova as the long man/swing guy when AJ and Andy both inevitably miss time on the DL. Given what Girardi said about Joba, I don't think that's going to happen. Like Jay, I think its a tremendous waste of resources to relegate Joba to single inning bullpen status. Coming up, he had four quality pitches; all he lacked was experience. There's an awfully big difference between a starter who has two pitches at best, and Joba. The first guy you send to the bullpen as soon as its obvious he can't cut it as a starter. The other guy, you give experience to and he should blossom. Its a shame, really, how badly the Yanks botched him.

2 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 29, 2010 9:53 am

I don't think you can pass up on Lee, especially not in the situation the Yankees find themselves. If Pettitte retires, they have one rock solid starter and a young pitcher (Hughes) with potential. I don't think they can fill out the rotation with AJ, Nova and another veteran retread or rookie arm. That's a recipe for a disaster.

Even if Andy comes back, the Yankees are still looking at a rotation with two holes, kind of like the one they had down the stretch during which they played so poorly. In other words, if not Lee, then whom?

Unless you can convince me that the Yankees would hampered economically if Lee was only league average over the last 2-3 years of his deal, I think you pay a premium for the next two.

As for Joba, I still maintain that his injury during the 2008 season completely changed him. The Yankees probably did botch him, but he's never looked the same since then.

3 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 29, 2010 9:54 am

What did I do to anger the Banter? I have a brilliant comment in moderation again! :)

4 RIYank   ~  Oct 29, 2010 10:12 am

Huh, RAB seems to take the view that baseball has passed Mazzone by. I guess that's possible, but I definitely think he's worth a shot. The worst case is he's just a mediocre pitching coach, which I suspect is what we end up with otherwise anyway. The upside is huge.

Everything in moderation, William. Let this be a lesson to you.

5 RIYank   ~  Oct 29, 2010 10:27 am

Hm, what about rolling the dice on Erik Bedard?

6 The Hawk   ~  Oct 29, 2010 10:30 am

The Joba thing is just tired. He looked like the heir apparent to Mariano for a few weeks, they insisted he was a starter, he got hurt, was mediocre at best (I forget which came first), they bent over backwards to get him ready for a full workload in 2010, they put him in the bullpen anyway, he was mediocre and here we are. Just a mediocre, nothing pitcher.

I don't know where it went wrong but on the other hand maybe it's easier and more sensible to look at Joba's initial dominance as a flash in the pan. When there's too much tension between expectation/perception and reality, reality aint the thing that's gonna get adjusted. Y'know? If it walks like a duck, etc.

7 Yankster   ~  Oct 29, 2010 12:10 pm

[6] I'd like to see Joba traded to a team that still thinks he has potential (unlike the Yankees). He might be a head case, but he's a head case whose potential is to be a top 10 starting pitcher. You can probably say that about AJ, too, and that hasn't worked out for the Yankees either. It might not be a good place for head cases or the pitching coach might not have been the right one for the place. Who knows? But Joba has to have more value as a trade chip than as a middle innings reliever.

As for Lee, he isn't taking less than a 5 or 6 year deal regardless of the money - and the money is likely to be offered along with the years by a team like Texas. This is not a case where the Yanks can pay more for a three year contract that has Lee looking for a contract at age 35 after pitching with a short right porch for three years. Not going to happen.

He will get a Sabathia type deal. Hopefully not from the Yanks.

8 yankintexas   ~  Oct 29, 2010 9:26 pm

While I don't dispute that giving long term deals to pitchers in their 30's is bad business in general, I do think you have to look at things on a case by case basis. In the case with Lee, here's a guy that's been durable and has sound pitching mechanics. He reminds me of Pettitte, Clemens and Moose. My only concern with Lee would be his back since it gave him some trouble this year. IF that checks out I would sign him in a heartbeat. Once rostered I would rank him ahead of everyone except for Hughes as the safest bet in the current rotation to be pitching well in the next 3-5.

9 yankintexas   ~  Oct 29, 2010 9:27 pm

next 3-5 years.

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