• June 15th @ The Astros

    Posted by on June 15th, 2008 · Comments (24)

    This entry was supposed to be about how much fun it is to play the Houston Astros right now. It was supposed to be about Robinson Cano getting lucky with a bloop double that just landed fair down the left-field line. It was supposed to be about how some of the Astros pitchers – by appearance and performance – look like they should be pitching in Little League and not the big leagues. It was supposed to be about A-Rod finally making a great play to his right and hitting a ball to whatever state sits next to Texas outside left-field at Minute Maid Park.

    But, all that really matters about this game, now, is the injury to Chien-Ming Wang.

    When it first happened, I thought “hamstring” and “six to eight weeks.” And, that was depressing. You don’t lose one of your two best starting pitchers for two months and not feel it. Then, on the YES broadcast, they said it was an injury to his right foot. And, I actually started to feel a little better. But, then, in the YES post-game, I saw Girardi call it “a sprained foot.” For those who don’t know, that’s 2008-Yankees talk for “He’s hurt; but, there’s no way in heck that we’re going to tell you anything about it.” That’s not good. Further, Peter Abraham reported after the game that Wang, himself, thinks that this could be a bad injury.

    Now, I am back to full-blown depression over this injury. Sure, we have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. But, what are the odds that it’s going to be favorable news?

    As crazy as this sounds, if it turns out to be season-ending, the Yankees are going to have to go out and trade for a starting pitcher. Sure, maybe Dan McCutchen could step in. But, the Yankees may still see him as more of a relief pitcher. Who does that leave? Ian Kennedy? Kei Igawa? Jeff Karstens? None of those are going to fill Wang’s shoes. This injury may bring cause for some drastic measures – either that, or, get ready to punt the season.

    Comments on June 15th @ The Astros

    1. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 15th, 2008 | 9:43 pm

      I think Kennedy is the best choice and gets a chance to straighten out his season. Not the best choice in a perfect world, based on what he’s shown this year, but who knows? On the other hand it seems that he’s just started throwing bullpens so he’s likely a couple of weeks away. So someone else has to fill in immediately.

      If the Yanks decide they have to go outside the organization there is only one trade target to consider, and that is C.C. No one else can fill Wang’s shoes. I mean, when you think of the state of pitching, plus the number of teams who haven’t realized they are out of it yet, what is going to be available, right now? Do you want Jeff Weaver II? He was released from a AAA team last week and I’m sure he’s available, but even Igawa would outpitch him now.

      Of course, that all assumes that the Indians will fade and that they will decide to make that move for the future. There’s no guarantee of course, which is why this injury could be devastating.

      But like you said, Steve, good teams overcome injuries. And the bottom line is that no one knows how severe it is, so you might as well wait til tomorrow and beyond to figure out the best course of action.

    2. Joel
      June 15th, 2008 | 9:52 pm

      “Punt the season…” They’re starting to roll. 17-8 since the horrid 20-25 start.

      Let’s chill.

    3. June 15th, 2008 | 11:43 pm

      It’s only a roll because of Wang’s last two starts and Pettitte’s last start. That’s the issue with losing Wang…it’s hard to keep a roll going without him.

    4. June 15th, 2008 | 11:45 pm

      OnceIWasAYankeeFan – ideally, if Wang is out, I’m hoping that the Yankees would pull a trade that no one saw coming…say, like Kennedy and Tabata for Aaron Cook.

    5. Corey
      June 16th, 2008 | 12:57 am

      OnceIWasAYankeeFan – ideally, if Wang is out, I’m hoping that the Yankees would pull a trade that no one saw coming…say, like Kennedy and Tabata for Aaron Cook.

      ———–

      him?? i don’t think that would bea good idea. He pitches in the nl west for God sakes. He would get eaten alive in the al east , i really don’t think kennedy would do any worse, and perhaps better. plus u get to keep tabata (whether to trade him later or use him)

    6. Don
      June 16th, 2008 | 1:47 am

      Not to worry! There’s always Phil Hughes……..

    7. MJ
      June 16th, 2008 | 7:52 am

      I don’t want to punt the season but I also don’t want the team to trade everyone on earth for Sabathia, either. By definition, teams always try to extract a higher price from the Yanks and now that the team is in need and has no leverage, I shudder to think what the asking price would be for the big fatso from Cleveland.

      Hughes, Kennedy, Cabrera, Cano, and Melancon for Sabathia? I’d rather see last place than make a stupid trade like that.

    8. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 16th, 2008 | 8:10 am

      I’d agree with Corey that is a trade to stay away from.

      I just looked at the standings and realized that the Indians are closer to the top of their division than the Yankees are to the East. So its going to be a while yet before the Indians decide to punt their season anyway.

      Not sure where MJ sees the “teams always try to extract a higher price from the Yanks” scenario (Abreu/Lidle, anyone?) but it certainly applies now. The Yanks would be dealing from a position of weakness, and you’ve already got the big emphasis on youth in the game today. And you can add in that the Red Sox will be in on Sabathia to keep the price as high as possible, just like Santana.

      Bottom line right now is that the Yankees are going to have to go internal for a period of time, because they aren’t going to make any deal right away. You might as well give Kennedy or one of the less heralded guys a shot. Now the pressure is going to be on the offense to produce consistently to make up for lesser starting pitching.

      One potential fallout here that no one has mentioned is the impact on the bullpen. Losing your most consistent innings eater can have a cascading impact on the pen as the season goes on. When Wakefield had his rib injury and missed so much time in 2006, it ultimately caught up with the relievers too (it didn’t help that they were mostly pretty crappy to begin with, which is a problem the Yankees also have). So this puts pressure on Pettitte and Joba to go deep to give the bullpen the rest that Wang usually provided.

    9. yankees76
      June 16th, 2008 | 8:51 am

      Steve, you’ve been doing really well the last few months, moderating your tendency for shrill hyperbole. I think the SNY affiliation has made you a little more self-conscious, but I don’t really care what the reason is, it’s just nicer to read the blog when it’s not filled with ledge-jumping, over-reactions and gratuitous slamming of Hughes and Cashman.

      That being said, “get ready to punt the season”??

      You don’t even know how bad the injury is. I didn’t think it sounded great, either, from Girardi’s reaction and from Pete Abe’s reporting, but you don’t even know how bad the injury is.

      The Yankees have two (2) TWO teams in front of them for the Wild Card, and with 3 1/2 months left in the season, the Division title is still well within reach, too.

      They are starting to play really well, and their 17-8 record over the last 25 games is NOT because of two good starts from Wang, as you incorrectly stated.

      Relax.

    10. Raf
      June 16th, 2008 | 10:59 am

      OnceIWasAYankeeFan, the Abreu/Lidle trade was a salary dump. The Yanks did the Phils a favor taking those contracts off their hands.

    11. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 16th, 2008 | 11:21 am

      In other words,
      “teams always try to extract a higher price from the Yanks” isn’t really accurate.

    12. unfrozencavemanyankee
      June 16th, 2008 | 11:25 am

      Based on all reports so far the Wang injury is severe. The NY Times this morning strongly suggested that it’s a season ender. If that is so, now is not the time to plug in with Giese, McCutcheon, etc. Wang is our ace and it is foolish to think we can replace him with minor leaguers. If Sabathia is available, and all indications say yes, we NEED to go out and get him. If that means we trade Cano, Hughes, Kennedy, etc. so be it. This team has too much talent to squander the season away.

    13. MJ
      June 16th, 2008 | 11:38 am

      If that means we trade Cano, Hughes, Kennedy, etc. so be it. This team has too much talent to squander the season away.
      ====================================
      If you’re not going to trade those guys for Santana (a better pitcher by all measures) then why make a panic trade for Sabathia?

      Now, if you’re one of the folks that thought the Yanks SHOULD’VE made the Santana trade, then I can’t see why you’d endorse trading for the weaker of two pitchers at arguably a higher cost to the team.

      More importantly, if this team “has too much talent to squander the season away” then I’d love to know who plays 2B the rest of the season. Cano’s been bad at the plate this year but unless you’re telling me you’re completely convinced that he was a three year flash-in-the-pan then I don’t see what the Yanks gain by throwing away the entire farm to chase a division title/wild card, hoping that a 300 lb guy is a good investment. You want to pay $130M or more to find out what Sabathia will look like in two-three years?

    14. hopbitters
      June 16th, 2008 | 1:16 pm

      I don’t think Sabathia is the answer to anyone’s problems and he’s not pitching all that well right now anyway. Besides, if the Times thinks Wang is out for the season, my money is he’ll be back by Wednesday. You can find more reliable journalism over the urinals in subway stations.

    15. unfrozencavemanyankee
      June 16th, 2008 | 1:49 pm

      “If you’re not going to trade those guys for Santana (a better pitcher by all measures) then why make a panic trade for Sabathia?”

      B/C circumstances have changed, that’s why. And I would not label it a “panic trade”. I would term it a very reasonable trade of an, established front-line starter who is only 27 and has never made fewer than 28 starts a season. We can likely get him for prospects w/out trading Cano but he shouldn’t be off the table.

      “I don’t think Sabathia is the answer to anyone’s problems and he’s not pitching all that well right now anyway.”

      Sabathia’s ERA in May: 2.44 with 2 CG’s. Sabathia’s ERA in June: 2.40 with 1 CG and last night’s 10 K performance. Is this your definition of not pitching well? I wish all our starters pitched this poorly!

    16. Don
      June 16th, 2008 | 2:10 pm

      Sabathia is a FA after the season. Trading more than a bag-o-donuts for him is silly. Thankfully, cooler heads are likely to prevail.

    17. unfrozencavemanyankee
      June 16th, 2008 | 2:29 pm

      Well obviously you don’t trade for Sabathia without signing him to a long-term deal. This is not exactly rocket science nor is it unprecendented. If you guys want to go through the rest of the season with Dan Geise or Ian Kennedy as Wang’s replacment go right ahead. The rest of us are expecting the Yankees to compete for a pennant.

    18. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 16th, 2008 | 2:54 pm

      Actually, Sabathia makes some sense as a rental only: He signs elsewhere, his team gets two first round draft picks.

      That will be part of the calculation for the Indians if they decide to make him available: is the package being offered better than the draft compensation if we play out the season with him? If a team offers major league ready or near-ready decent talent, there’s less uncertainty going with that than taking the draft picks. And the team that gets him knows that they can replenish through the draft if they don’t sign him to a long-term deal.

    19. butchie22
      June 16th, 2008 | 3:25 pm

      David Wells is an option…yeah I know he’s old but it’s only money. Sabathia? The Indians are in the playoff mix so I don’t see him going. IF he does go, the Cubs and Phillies are flush with prospects to part with to get a pitcher whereas Cashman is more reluctant. Oswalt,does he even want to come to the Yankees? AJ Burnett, the Jays are still in the mix and Ricciardi would make the NYY pay a king’s ransom for him.

      The Lidle/Abreu trade was a salary dump as the Yanks gave up relatively nothing for those two. But I don’t see that happening this year with the Cubs and Phils looking for the same thing. Teams will ask for more from the Yanks, but that goes with the territory when their payroll is $209 million(before being pro rated and the money spent on draft bonuses),so they are in a sticky situation.

    20. hopbitters
      June 16th, 2008 | 4:01 pm

      Sabathia’s recent numbers look nice out of context, but he was awful to start the season and even the last month or so is a little deceptive. Yes, the two shutouts were excellent outings and he had other good starts, but in between, he got smacked around by KC and Texas. 3 runs in 8 IP last outing sounds nice, but it was against San Diego. He’s a good pitcher, but hasn’t shown he can consistently perform as an elite pitcher and he shouldn’t be paid like one.

    21. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 16th, 2008 | 4:21 pm

      Sprained foot + partially torn tendon. Minimum six weeks on crutches with protective boot. That takes you to the end of July, and you’re looking at a month, perhaps more, to get the arm back in shape. So best case scenario is a September return, and if the time in the boot goes longer, than you are talking later in September to missing the whole thing.

      So there you go – they need to decide who to call up in the short-term, see what they get from the youngsters, and go from there.

    22. unfrozencavemanyankee
      June 16th, 2008 | 4:28 pm

      “He’s a good pitcher, but hasn’t shown he can consistently perform as an elite pitcher and he shouldn’t be paid like one.”

      He won the Cy Young last year! How much more elite can you get? The fact is we just lost our ace for pretty much the rest of the season. We can take a flier on our kids, go out and get some retread, hope that Freddy Garcia has something left or go out and get a top starter who comes close to matching Wang’s quality. Sabathia is the only one out there that fits the bill.

      And btw, one of those “out of context” starts included an 8 IP, one run perf. agst your NYYankees.

    23. hopbitters
      June 16th, 2008 | 4:55 pm

      And btw, one of those “out of context” starts included an 8 IP, one run perf. agst your NYYankees.

      -

      Right, he beats up on teams that aren’t hitting well. And that’s what a good pitcher should do, but it’s not the same as being a dominant pitcher.

      He had a good season last year, but it wasn’t extraordinary. He racked up 41 RSAA, tied with Carmona, one behind Lackey. And he won an award based on random and essentially unregulated voting practices. I don’t consider that significant of anything. When he strings several comparable seasons in a row or has a 50+ RSAA year, I’ll consider him as something more than a good pitcher. Right now, he’s just another in a very long line of guys who had a bunch of average seasons and a couple good ones. It’s not a good gamble for the money/players I suspect they’d have to give up.

    24. Joel
      June 16th, 2008 | 8:53 pm

      hopbitters–Come on. Sabathia is very good. And might be even better on the Yankees.

      I’m not a big fan of trading Cano. But outside of Joba, I would let Cleveland have look at anyone else in our “inventory.”

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