Posts Tagged ‘Dave Eiland’

Bryan Hoch reports that the Yankees have signed Larry Rothschild as their new pitching coach, replacing the summarily dumped Dave Eiland. ESPN’s Wallace Matthews reports Rothschild has a three year deal, worth $2 million.

I’m  not certain this represents a significant upgrade. The move admittedly has me scratching my head, especially in light of some better options (like Scott Aldred and Leo Mazzone) still available.

Quick recap of Rothschild’s career: he pitched a very ugly 7 games over parts of two season with the Tigers in the early 1908’s (career WHIP: 1.9; career K/9: 1.1), after being a rule 5 draft pick . He surfaced in 1990 as the Red’s bullpen coach, being promoted to pitching coach for Cincinnati for 1992 and 93. He then worked as a minor league instructor for the Braves before resurfacing as the Marlins pitching coach from 1995 -97. He served from 1998 – 2001 as the first manager in Tampa Bay’s history and has been the Cubs pitching coach since 2002.

My concern is that the Yankees signed a guy with a big name in baseball circles, but not necessarily one that fits the Yankee pitching staff well. Rothschild is known for stressing strikeouts from his pitchers – not necessarily a great idea when your staff has AJ Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and David Robertson, all pitchers known for getting in trouble while nibbling for K’s when a ground ball would do just fine. And despite all of those strikeouts his teams have captured over the years, they really haven’t shone when the pressure was on or been great at keeping runners off base. Consider the 2003 Cubs: despite setting a NL record with over 1400 strikeouts, the staff WHIP was 1.3; relatively pedestrian. The Cubs had a staff ERA of 5.71 during that postseason. Let’s also not forget that Rothschild is a pitching coach noted for blowing out pitchers arms: Jose Rijo, Rob DibbleMark Prior and Kerry Wood all suffered career-altering arm troubles on Rothschild’s watch.

For now, I’ll withhold final judgement until I see how this pans out. If he can get AJ and Joba straightened out without ruining the rest of the staff, then Rothschild was the right hire. But right now I think this move is dicey.

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Just a couple of weeks ago, Brian Cashman held a conference with the media and delivered the news that Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland, would not be returning next season. In the press conference, Cashman stated that he was not being blamed for what happened this October and the reasons for his departure were going to be kept private.

On June 4th of the this year, Dave Eiland took a leave of absence from the ball club, which stirred up a lot of talking among the media and fans. The organization wouldn’t unveil the reasons for that decision, and it was rumored to be a family issue. During that time, A.J. Burnett was falling apart on the mound and he didn’t have his coach by his side to assist him. He returned in late June, resuming his regular role as pitching coach.

After the season, ESPN came out with a story that claimed there was a rift between Eiland and Girardi, which was the reason for his departure. Dave Eiland’s response:

“That’s absolutely ridiculous and simply not true,” Eiland told the Daily News in an e-mail. “Joe and I have never had a problem nor do we now. He’s a solid baseball man and a great manager, and more importantly one of the best human beings I have ever met.” Eiland declined to discuss any of the details surrounding his departure from the Yankees.

The Yankees pitching staff faltered in the postseason, but was Eiland to blame for that? Did they just want to shake things up a bit? Did the firing have something to do with that leave of absence? Something tells me it does. I was caught by surprise by the firing, because I thought he was highly regarded within organization, especially since he worked with several of the current players while they were in the minor leagues. I’m not sure we’ll ever know the real reason behind this. Now, the team is in need of a pitching coach. Who will it be? Thoughts?

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Dave Eiland Starting pitcher CC Sabathia #52 (R) and pitching coach Dave Eiland #58 of the New York Yankees walk towards the dugout from the bullpen to play against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Joe Girardi signs a 3 year/$9M contract: The Yankees announced Friday that Girardi will return as manager through the 2013 season after agreeing to terms on a deal worth $9 million, representing a pay raise from his previous contract. “My focus the whole time was on our club. I didn’t really think about leaving the Yankees,” Girardi said. “My thought process was that I was going to be back.” The contract terms, which were confirmed by The Associated Press, also include bonuses of $500,000 per year if the Yankees are able to win the World Series. Girardi’s previous deal with the Yankees was for three years and $7.8 million. General manager Brian Cashman had said that re-signing Girardi was the team’s “first order of business.”

I’m not sure I can handle 3 more years of Girardi. What do you guys think of the move?

Kevin Long returns: “Kevin Long will continue to dissect swings in the cages with the Yankees, agreeing to a three-year deal to stay on as hitting coach. A baseball source confirmed the new pact for the 43-year-old Long, whose contract expired on Sunday along with the Yankees’ other coaches. The Yankees have not officially announced the move.”

Dave Eiland addresses the ESPN report: Eiland broke his silence on Saturday, telling the Daily News that an ESPNNewYork.com report that said the pitching coach’s relationship with manager Joe Girardi was the primary reason for his departure from the team. “That’s absolutely ridiculous and simply not true,” Eiland told the Daily News in an e-mail. “Joe and I have never had a problem nor do we now. He’s a solid baseball man and a great manager, and more importantly one of the best human beings I have ever met.”

Things you might have missed:

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Courtesy: AP/Seth Wenig

As the 2011 preseason is now officially underway for the Yankees, it’s time for Yankee fans to fire up the hot stove and begin contemplating what the team will look like next Spring. But before you can take the first step forward, it helps to know where you are. After all, every destination has a starting point. It just happens that 2011 and #28 begins from the rubble of what was a once promising season in 2010.

So, where are the Yankees right now?

Front Office: The Yanks front office appears more stable than at any time in more than a generation. Gone are the days when Mount Steinbrenner might erupt at any moment, causing the Yanks management team a severe case of angina and filling the back pages of NYC’s tabloids. Brian Cashman, love him or hate him, seems certain to retain the General Manager’s position for the foreseeable future. While the Steinbrenner sons seem to have placed their faith in Cashman, I wouldn’t advise him to repeat last year’s disastrous offseason. While they strike me as the polar opposite of their Dad in the way they approach running the team, I also can’t imagine that the Steinbrenner demand for winning is sublimated to profits under their watch. Cashman is excellent at the operations side of the baseball business – but more player moves on par with Nick Johnson and Javy Lopez will end his run.

Field Management: Cashman already announced that bringing back skipper Joe Girardi is “job 1” this offseason. That probably says more about the lack of available managerial talent than Girardi’s skill in guiding the team, in my opinion. The only other decent manager available right now is Bobby Valentine. Somehow, I can’t see Bobby V’s penchant for grabbing the spotlight and the current front office’s desire to avoid controversy co-existing. Joel Sherman
made an interesting point about the skipper needing to loosen up a bit and have fun in an earlier column today. It’s a point that hopefully Girardi will take to heart in 2011. Oh, and hopefully he loses that infernal binder along the way, too.

Earlier today, the coaching staff shake-up began in earnest, as Dave Eiland was jettisoned. No real reason was given, but I suspect Eiland wanted out as much, if not more; than the brass wanted him gone (he did disappear for nearly a month during the regular season, for reasons nobody has ever explained). Regardless, the Yankees now need a pitching coach. I imagine with AJ Burnett due back and the real possibility of having a rookie in the starting rotation, the Yankees will look for somebody with not only pitching expertise, but a psychiatry degree. With Cliff Lee an obvious target of Yankee affection, expect a pitching coach Lee respects to be targeted.

Otherwise, don’t expect major changes on the bench. Kevin Long is still regarded as one of the best hitting coaches in the business and 3B/IF coach Rob Thompson is widely regarded as helping Robinson Cano realize his potential in the field. Bench coach Tony Pena seems likely to stay – but I’m certain if a managerial job opens up for him, he’ll jump on it.

Coming tomorrow: Core Four

Coming Wednesday: Pitchers

Coming Thursday: FIelders

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This from Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News: (Via Twitter)

“Cashman drops a bomb: Dave Eiland will not return as pitching coach.”

“Cashman on Eiland: “He’s not being blamed for what took place. … I hope you believe me on that.”

and Jack Curry:

“Cashman told reporters his reasoning for decision were private.”

I wonder who the replacement will be. Any thoughts?

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The first half of the season is over and the Yankees are right where we expected them: in first place in the brutal AL East with the best record in baseball. That they’ve accomplished this feat is nothing short of incredible, considering the tepid seasons so far from Mark Texeira and Curtis Granderson, and the non-seasons from Nick Johnson and the departed Randy Winn.

The reason the team has done so well is that the starting rotation has performed even better than most people anticipated. That’s saying quite a bit, as this was expected to be one of the five best rotations in the majors. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the majors-leading48 wins (against only 21 losses) is beyond all expectations. That the Yanks have three starting pitchers on this year’s all-star team is proof that other players and teams agree the Yanks rotation has been the best in baseball.

So why dominance beyond that expected of other outstanding rotations? Could the answer be that Dave Eiland is a modern-day pitching genius?

Um, actually…not so fast.

A case can be made that Eiland has been anything but a pitching genius. And that the rotation, while very good, has actually been pitching below what could have been expected of them. I realize that much was written about how Eiland’s return from a still unexplained leave of absence seems to have rejuvenated AJ Burnett. And undoubtedly, Burnett’s horrible June and July resurgence coincided with Eiland’s disappearing act. But, on the whole, the staff has pitched below what might be expected of them based on their career averages. Consider the chart below:











Andy Pettitte










Pettite Career










CC Sabathia










Sabathia Career










Phil Hughes










Hughes Career










Javier Vazquez










Vazquez Career










A.J. Burnett










Burnett Career










Rotation 2010










Rotation Career










A real danger sign that a pitcher is getting better results than ought to be expected is when FIP is more than .2 runs higher than his ERA. Put another way, when FIP is significantly higher than ERA, it’s an indication that the defense is making a habit of bailing a pitcher out of trouble. Right now, as a staff, the rotation’s FIP is .36 runs better than their combined ERA. Three pitchers are, based on the numbers, getting more defensive support than should realistically be anticipated: Andy Pettite, CC Sabathia and Javier Vazquez. I wouldn’t be surprised to see their individual ERA’s rise to more closely resemble their FIP by the end of the season. Unless the offense gets untracked, the results will be a dismal second half performance in the W/L column. For Pettite especially, that would spell disaster – but the reality is, his FIP in 2010 is remarkably consistent with his career FIP, so figuring he gives up an additional run per game in the second half is not unreasonable.

[By the way, for those of you who aren’t part-time sabermatricians or are otherwise unfamiliar with the alphabet-soup of baseball statistics, FIP stands for “Fielding Independent Pitching.” It’s a measure of how well a pitcher controls the parts of the game that don’t rely on defense: walks, home runs allowed and strike-outs. ERA, or “Earned Run Average” measures the number of how many runs a pitcher has actually allowed per 9 innings pitched, after removing runs allowed because of a fielding error. When you compare the two, you get a sense of how well a pitcher’s defense has contributed to their success. For example, this year Andy Pettite has a FIP that is more than 1 run per game higher than his ERA – an indication that the Yankee D has bailed him out quite a bit. Were he pitching for a team with a more porous defense, Andy’s ERA would likely be significantly higher. A great primer FIP can be found here.]

The real reason I’m not about to anoint Eiland as a genius just yet, though, has to do with those career numbers. As a whole, the rotation is pitching to an ERA that is .23 rpg better than their career aggregate. But I have a feeling that number is about to get flipped: the FIP is .31 rpg worse than the career aggregate, with only one starter – Phil Hughes – pitching to a better FIP in 2010 than in his career. Equally disturbing, the FIP/ERA differential is upside down by .54 rpg from the aggregate career average. And you can’t put either of the career to season discrepancies on Burnett’s June implosion – if you took his numbers out of the rotation, they get worse: the FIP difference goes up to .56 rpg and the career FIP difference goes up to .34 rpg.

So, it seems fair to say that Dave Eiland is not the reason for the Yankees pitching prowess and may actually be doing something to mess things up. In fact, it seems that the real reason the Yanks have bolted out to the best record in baseball may be their defense. This starts to become even more evident when you take a close look at the peripherals: K/BB ratio is down, BB/9 are up and yet, overall WHIP is lower than the career numbers. That’s evidence that a lot of balls that used to find grass are being turned into outs.

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This year’s All-Star Game is now being called “Challenge the Yankees”….just like the card game from the 1960’s! Think about it…the whole American League roster is filled with New York Yankees.

Joe Girardi, Dave Eiland, Mike Harkey, Mick Kelleher, Kevin Long, Tony Peña, Rob Thompson, Nick Swisher, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez are all headed to the Midsummer Classic in Anaheim, California. With the possibility of Cliff Lee landing on the Yankees, the roster could consist of 15 people associated with the New York Yankees organization. And this list doesn’t even include Mariano Rivera..think about that!

National League vs The Bronx Bombers…are you ready?

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When the Yankees obtained A.J. Burnett, they knew exactly what they were getting. They were acquiring a man who could look like a an ace one day, and could be a complete disaster the next. That’s just the way he is, and I don’t see that ever changing.

Burnett has now lost five games in a row, which is totally unacceptable. There was a stint last year where he strung together a few bad starts, but this is far worse. His grandfather passed away recently, and he was missing his pitching coach for an extended period of time. Are those excuses for the way he is pitching? No, but they may be things that contributed to his bad performance. You would expect a pitcher of his status to be able to handle situations like that. Burnett may seem like a guy who has a rough side and opens his mouth a lot, but that isn’t the case from what I can tell. He put the blame on himself, and that’s exactly what you want to hear out of your pitcher.

Dave Eiland returned this past Tuesday to the ball club, and he hopes to turn things around. He’ll toe the rubber in just a few minutes, so let’s wait and see if anything changes.

From the Yankees Official Website:

During a 35-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday, he and Eiland went “back to square one” to fix some minor mechanical flaws; namely, that Burnett was too quick with his delivery and flying open early.

“It was good yesterday. It felt real free upstairs,” said Burnett, who added that he started trying some things he had never done before in an effort to escape his slump. “It’s a matter of taking it out to the field.”

Burnett and Eiland worked on staying tall on the mound and keeping his delivery in rhythm.

“When my motion’s too quick, my delivery’s too quick, I tend to open up,” Burnett said. “A good example is Felix [Hernandez] last night. He has a little pause at the top. When I’m good, I have a little pause at the top. When I don’t and I’m coming toward home plate, I open up and everyone in the stadium can see my ball.”


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From the Yankees Official Website:

LOS ANGELES — Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland is scheduled to return from his extended leave of absence on Tuesday, and his staff of hurlers will be elated to have his input once again.

Manager Joe Girardi said Sunday that he anticipates having Eiland in the dugout for the opener of a three-game series against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, the first contests Eiland has worked since leaving the Yankees on June 4.

“There was a time period that things had to be worked out,” Girardi said. “Dave was going through some personal things. He’s ready and he’s coming back.”

Girardi would not elaborate on the reason for Eiland’s absence, but said that he does not anticipate Eiland will have to leave the team again this year. While Eiland was away, Girardi said that he did keep up with the team.

“I think you’d have to put somebody on a deserted island with no TV or papers, if you’re a baseball guy, to not have an idea of what’s going on,” Girardi said. “As much as he was taking care of the stuff he needed to take care of, he was aware.”

Eiland will have an immediate challenge upon getting back to work. His return coincides just as one of his pitchers, A.J. Burnett, completed the worst month of his Major League career, going 0-5 with an 11.35 ERA in five starts. (more…)

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It’s time to kick it in gear as the baseball season is around the corner now. These links should catch you up on everything:

Chien-Ming Wang is headed to the Washington Nationals this year, receiving a one year contract worth $2M with $3M in incentives.

The Yankees invited five more players to Spring Training yesterday. Those players are: Brandon Laird, Jorge Vazquez, D.J. Mitchell, Dustin Moseley and Ryan Pope. That brings them up to 25 non-roster players in their 2010 camp.

Dave Eiland has stated that the ‘Hughes Rules’ won’t be the same as the ‘Joba Rules’. Eiland says, “But you’ve got to remember, Joba had restrictions because he never had a full season in the professional Baseball as a Starter. Phil Hughes has had several minor league seasons as a Starter.” What does Phil think he’s going to throw this season? Hughes has also taken a guess himself about his innings limit saying, “Just a guess, I’d assume it’d be around 175-180 innings, but that’s pure speculation,” said Hughes

Curtis Granderson is keeping an open mind on playing left field. “People forget that I came up as a left fielder,” Granderson told Bryan Hoch. “In the Minor Leagues all the way up to Double-A, I didn’t start playing center field consistently until my second year in the Minors. Even when I came to the big leagues, I played a few games in left. I have no problem going back over there if that happens to be.”

A few days ago, we found out that the Yankees plan to be heavily involved in trying to get Cuban prospect Adeiny Hechevarria.

According to Anthony McCarron, Francisco Cervelli sat out a month of winter ball after getting hit in the head with a bat.

Brian Cashman confirmed that the Yankees offered Johnny Damon two deals (one for two-years and $14MM).

Last week the World Series trophy took a trip to West Point

Joba Chamberlain attended the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway this past Sunday at Daytona Beach, Florida.


(Photo Courtesy of The LoHud Yankees Blog)

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Here are a few things that are floating around the Yankees universe as we ready ourselves for pitchers and catchers this week.

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