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Posts Tagged ‘Octavio Dotel’

I read this today from Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York:

“Chamberlain’s role as the eighth-inning man and, quite possibly, his Yankees future are on the clock. The Yankees will not let Chamberlain’s inconsistency prevent them from making the playoffs or winning a championship.”

That’s quite a statement and makes it sound as if Joba Chamberlain is on the trading block. Regardless of his inconsistency this year, I find it a tad bit hard to believe the Yankees will give up on him this quickly. After all, he’s only 24 – and unlike most guys his age, he’s actually logged more innings and appearances at the major league level than he has in the minors. (He’s made 132 major league appearances for 319 innings vs. 18 appearances for 88 innings in the minors). What we’ve witnessed in the Bronx is the maturation of a thrower into a pitcher at the major league level. This is not something that lends itself easily to New York. Folks in Kansas City or Pittsburgh are accustomed to seeing young pitchers get walloped on a daily basis. Yankee fans haven’t seen this type of spectacle since Al Leiter‘s arrival in 1987.

This isn’t to say that Joba has done a spectacular job in the 8th inning role he was handed. He hasn’t. But I would be much more worried if there weren’t signs of progress. There are. His K/9 is back up to 9.6; the HR/9 is back down to 0.5. Both of those numbers are actually pretty comparable to his 2008 season, which leads me to believe that putting him back in the bullpen has helped correct some of the issues that came to the fore last year (fewer strikeouts, more nibbling, more walks, more pitching from behind). The one area he hasn’t made progress in is hits allowed, which has ballooned to 10.1 per 9 innings. But even that isn’t indicative of what Joba is doing (or not doing): his BAbip (that is, the batting average on balls actually put in play) is a respectable .280. So why the seeming unending trail of blown games?

When Joba has been bad, he’s been spectacularly bad: in 13 of his appearances this year, the opposing team has lit him up for a .700 OPSa or better – which means in 1/3 of his appearances, Joba has basically imploded, allowing opposing batters to rip him hard. In those appearances, Joba has pitched to a 1.305 OPSa. That’s a great number if you’re an outfielder, not so much if you’re a pitcher. But in his other 26 appearances, Joba has held hitters to a highly respectable .326 OPSa. (By comparison, Mariano Rivera‘s OPSa this season is .397). In case you’re wondering, OPSa is the combined on-base and slugging average against a pitcher – a great way to measure if a pitcher is getting guys out, pitching into bad luck or just plain getting hammered. When your OPSa is sub .400, it means that not only aren’t opposing hitters getting on base, they aren’t exactly killing the ball when they do. When its north of .700, the fans in the bleachers better have brought along their gloves.

So, the key to the second half may simply be getting a 24 year old kid with a history of mental lapses to concentrate. He has demonstrated that he has the talent and ability to do the job and only lacks the consistency. I wouldn’t bet against him finding some of that consistency in the second half of this season. I certainly wouldn’t want to see Joba traded away for another tired retread, a la Octavio Dotel or {shudder} Kyle Farnsworth.

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At the end of the 2005 season Brian Cashman almost left the Yankees as he was fed up of fractured chain of command on the baseball operations side of the Yankees. Cashman took nearly two weeks to decide whether or not to come back. In the end, Cashman wanted more authority and received it as well as a 3 year/$5.5 million contract. Since late 2005, the Yankees have finished in first (2006), in second with a Wild Card berth (2007), in third place (2008) and in first place with a 27th World Series championship (2009).

Obviously, a lot has happened in Yankeesland since Cashman was given full autonomy from good draft picks to good free agent signings (or re-signings) to good trades and obviously, there is the converse of that. Over the next 4 posts (this one included) we will try to breakdown a portion of those transactions that either mattered or made some sort of an impact and give Cashmoney a grade for each year and overall.

When we say year, we generally mean from late October to late October (For example October 2005-October 2006 would be a year) unless otherwise specified.

Without further milking the cow, here’s October 2005 to October 2006 and our analysis of the first year of Cashman’s autonomy.

(more…)

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Continuing with our trend of analyzing various aspects of the Yankees since 1996, today we delve into to their top 10 biggest free agent busts since their return to glory. Now, without further gilding the lilly, let’s get to the topic at hand.

10. Roger Clemens – Contract 1 yr/$17.4 mil. This would be the Rocket’s last year (2007) pitching in the big leagues and he didn’t give the Yankees pitching staff the boost as expected. As a Yankee in 2007: 6-6, 4.18 ERA with 68 K’s in 99 innings.

9. Kenny Lofton – Contract: 2 yr/$6.2 mil. After seeing Juan Pierre in the 2003 World Series, Steinbrenner wanted someone of that mold and found Lofton. Lofton wasn’t exactly a great asset in his one year as a Yankee. As a Yankee: 7 SB, 3 CS in 83 games.

8. Octavio Dotel – Contract: 1 yr/$2 mil. Dotel only pitched 10 forgettable innings after coming back from Tommy John Surgery. As a Yankee: 14 games, 10.80 ERA in 10 innings.

7. Jaret Wright Contract: 3 yr/$20 mil. Wright was signed during the same offseason as Carl Pavano and was only moderately better than him, which isn’t a real compliment. As a Yankee: 16-12, 4.99 ERA, 118 K’s in 204 innings and a 1.6 WHIP.

6. Jose Contreras – Contract: 4 yr/$32 mil. Contreras never seemed to be comfortable in New York and he couldn’t pitch well against the Red Sox. After 36 games, he was playing for the White Sox. As a Yankee: 15-7, 4.64 ERA, 154 K’s in 166.2 innings and a 1.3 WHIP.

5. Rondell White – Contract: 2 yr/$10 mil. Looking at Rondell’s numbers up until this point, one would say this was a decent deal, until White stepped on the field. It became apparent that Rondell should have stayed in the NL. As a Yankee: .240 BA, 14 HR, 62 RBI, .666 OPS (Lowest of career to this point). (more…)

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 Here is some of the latest news surrounding Yankees Universe, and I thought I would catch up on some of the things I missed.

Peter Abraham says that maybe it’s time to reward Girardi for the great job he did managing the team this year. I say no. Win the World Series…and then you can have a reward. This is New York. We expect to make the playoffs.

A fourth-grader in Syracuse, NY was told to turn his Yankee shirt inside out by his teacher. He showed up to class this week with a Yankee t-shirt at Van Buren Elementary School, and his teacher told him to go to the bathroom and turn it inside out. He did what he said, and was later told to wear it that way until school let out. At first, the kid thought his teacher was joking, but he seriously meant it. The teacher is a big Red Sox fan, but that’s just wrong. The kid should be allowed to wear whatever he wants.

The idea that the Yankees are going Mauer frustrates me.  Not because I don’t like Mauer, but I would like to see the young catching prospects come up through the system. I know you can’t ever bank on a prospect, but Jesus Montero isn’t just any normal player. The guy is unbelievable.

I like Mauer as much as the next guy, but I rather have Montero be the heir apparent to Posada. Montero has something that people call “light tower power”. He is preparing to be the Yankees catcher as of now. His bat is major league ready..but his defense isn’t. Montero hasn’t turned 20 years old yet and he’s with the Trenton Thunder. His numbers this past season: .337AVG 17HR 70RBI .389OBP .562SLG .951OPS. Jesus can’t be moved to first base because the Yanks already locked Teixeira up for 8 years.

The fact of the matter is that Jorge Posada still has a productive bat and I’m in no rush to push him out the door. People always complain about his catching, but they blow it way out of proportion. His bat makes up for those mistakes. We will have to wait and see what happens.

FanGraphs breaks down Alex Rodriguez in the postseason. We all know that he has struggled mightily in big spots, but that can change. The ’09 Postseason could be his October.

The idea that Joba is back and better than ever… Joba definitely made an improvement in his last start, but let’s not get crazy here. He wasn’t dominant, but pitched much better than his previous starts. Chad Gaudin has been as good, if not better in his last few starts.

The Yankees achieved a new homerun record at Yankee Stadium. A-Rod’s Homer on Friday was the 127th longball hit at the stadium this season. Their previous high of 126 was achieved at the old Yankee Stadium in both ’04 and ’05.

SportsPro Magazine ranked the world’s 200 most valuable sports properties, and the Yankees ranked 12th on that list. This isn’t just the U.S., so it just shows how big the Bronx Bombers are in the world of sports. As you can see, the Yankees are estimated to be worth $1.19 Billion. They rank ahead of the Olympic Games, PGA, both NY football teams, and the entire National Hockey League. You can thank George Steinbrenner for all of that. (more…)

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