• The Five Hole

    Posted by on January 14th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    Pete Abe, today, is dead, solid, perfect on this topic. And, he didn’t even bring in the Tampa Bay Rays into his pool of pitchers comparison study. If the Yankees want to be considered with the other big dogs in the A.L. East this season, they must bring in a starting pitcher that they can pencil into their 5th starting slot who is a lock for at least 25 starts and 150 quality innings. Leaving that last spot open and hoping that someone steps forward from within the Yankees organization to own it is a mistake.

    Well, it’s not a mistake in the sense that it means the Yankees season is over. More so, it’s a mistake in the sense that it does not position the Yanks in a manner where their starting pitching lines-up favorably the other contenders in their division. In the end, it could be the difference between the Yankees winning 90 games in 2009 and them winning closer to 100 games this season. And, when you consider that Boston and Tampa are no chumps, that difference could be the make or don’t make the post-season break mark this year.

    Comments on The Five Hole

    1. Raf
      January 14th, 2009 | 4:48 pm

      If the Yankees want to be considered with the other big dogs in the A.L. East this season, they must bring in a starting pitcher that they can pencil into their 5th starting slot who is a lock for at least 25 starts and 150 quality innings.
      ————
      No they don’t.

      Pete Abe needs to take a closer look at history, as well as other teams in the league.

      How many times have the dynasty Yankees done it? How many times have the Braves during their run from 1991-2005 done it? How many World Championship teams done it? How many playoff teams have done it?

    2. January 14th, 2009 | 4:57 pm

      ~~~How many times have the dynasty Yankees done it? How many times have the Braves during their run from 1991-2005 done it? How many World Championship teams done it? How many playoff teams have done it? ~~~

      In terms of recent teams, off the top of my head, see:

      2008 Tampa Bay Rays
      2004 Boston Red Sox
      2000 New York Mets
      1999 New York Yankees
      1998 Atlanta Braves
      1993 Philadelphia Phillies
      1993 Toronto Blue Jays
      1988 New York Mets
      1985 Kansas City Royals

      ;-)

    3. January 14th, 2009 | 4:59 pm

      So, I see your point. But, does it apply Raf? How many other teams have been in a DIV with two teams as good as the Rays and Sox? That’s the key – to me.

      Therefore, I would counter your question with this question:

      How many teams have made the post-season when they played in a DIV with two other “super teams” and where they had a big “?” for their 5th starter to start the season?

    4. Pat F
      January 14th, 2009 | 5:06 pm

      really have to agree with you here steve. in addition to the competitiveness of the division, it’s also not like the yankees are at a point where starters 1-4 are all proven to be good for high innings totals. more like just cc and wang. after that, it’s burnett, joba, hughes. if everything goes great, sure, those three will be outstanding. but what if it doesn’t? when you consider their histories, it may very well not. so the yankees need depth, and that depth should come from another starter with a proven track record of providing innings. it’s not “just a 5th starter” we are talking about here. we have question marks, at the very least, in the 4-5 slots, and probably the 3-5 slots. not a recipe for success, when one injury is going to really hurt you in keeping up with tampa and boston.

    5. Raf
      January 14th, 2009 | 5:55 pm

      In terms of recent teams, off the top of my head…
      ——–
      9 playoff teams in 23 years (out of a possible 136 teams, unless my math is off), kinda disproves the theory, doesn’t it? :)

    6. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      January 14th, 2009 | 10:51 pm

      In that Pete Abe entry was an explicit claim that the Red Sox have more depth in the rotation … any worries about that in Yankeeland?

      When you lay down to sleep, are there any sudden thoughts “God I hope Smoltz and Saito don’t help the Sox”?

    7. Raf
      January 14th, 2009 | 11:05 pm

      When you lay down to sleep, are there any sudden thoughts “God I hope Smoltz and Saito don’t help the Sox”?
      —————
      No, not really…

    8. January 14th, 2009 | 11:29 pm

      ~~kinda disproves the theory, doesn’t it? ~~

      Not unless you can answer my question. How many teams have made the post-season when they played in a DIV with two other “super teams” and where they had a big “?” for their 5th starter to start the season?

    9. January 14th, 2009 | 11:35 pm

      ~~When you lay down to sleep, are there any sudden thoughts “God I hope Smoltz and Saito don’t help the Sox”?~~

      Smoltz is 42 and has the labrum of a 70-year old. I’m not sweating him.

      Saito is 39 and his elbow blew on him last year. I don’t think he’s a lock to rebound.

      They’re not bumping Jolie & Biel from my nighty-nighty thoughts any time soon…

    10. Raf
      January 15th, 2009 | 12:10 am

      Not unless you can answer my question. How many teams have made the post-season when they played in a DIV with two other “super teams” and where they had a big “?” for their 5th starter to start the season?
      ———
      Define “super team,” and we’ll take it from there? Are you referring to 2 teams that have won 90+ games? Using that criteria, we come up with the following teams;

      08: 4 (TB, BOS | CHC, MIL)
      07: 4 (BOS*, NY | AZ, COL)
      06: 3 (MIN, DET, CWS)
      05: 4 (NYY, BOS | CWS*, CLE)
      04: 8 (NYY, BOS* | ANA, OAK | STL, HOU | LAD, SFG)
      03: 6 (NYY, BOS | OAK, SEA | ATL, FLA*)
      02: 8 (NYY, BOS | OAK, ANA*, SEA | AZD, SFG, LAD)
      01: 6 (SEA, OAK | HOU, STL | AZD*, SFG)
      00: 6 (CWS, CLE | OAK, SEA | ATL, NYM)
      99: 6 (NYY, BOS | ATL, NYM | HOU, CIN)
      98: 4 (NYY, BOS | HOU, CHC)
      97: 4 (BAL, NYY | ATL, FLA*)
      96: 2 (SDP, LAD)
      95: 0

      * World Champions

      I cut it off at 95, because we have more teams to play with (and I have only so much time… lol)

      But to answer the first part of your question (How many teams have made the post-season when they played in a DIV with two other “super teams”), it would have to be 4 (AL Central – 2006; MIN, DET & NL West – 2002; AZD, SFG).

    11. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      January 15th, 2009 | 10:01 am

      Saito is throwing at 150 feet with no pain, and went through two days of intensive tests before they signed him.

      Dr Andrews certainly did not say that Smoltz has the labrum of a 70 year old. He had damage consistent with that of a pitcher who has thrown as many innings as he has. He’s come back from every prior surgery and by any measure is ahead of schedule from this one.

      Yeah, nobody knows for sure, but I’m betting that if Cashman had made these signings and you learned about their current health status, you’d pretty excited for their chances to be difference-makers.

    12. January 15th, 2009 | 11:22 am

      I’ve pretty much roasted Cashman in the past for the Dotel signing – for being a waste of money. And, would have done the same here too, FWIW.

    13. January 15th, 2009 | 11:24 am

      ~~AL Central – 2006; MIN, DET & NL West – 2002; AZD, SFG~~

      Raf – And, who was the 5th starter on those teams? Someone reliable, or, was it a patchwork of nobodies?

    14. Raf
      January 15th, 2009 | 12:10 pm

      Raf – And, who was the 5th starter on those teams? Someone reliable, or, was it a patchwork of nobodies?
      ————-
      Yeah, sorry bout that, been bouncing around all day…

      MIN: Started the season with Scott Baker as the #5
      DET: Started the season with Justin Verlander as the #5
      AZD: Started the season with either Rick Helling or Todd Stottlemyre as the #5
      SFG: Started the season with Kurt Ainsworth as the #5

      Baker, Ainsworth & Verlander were in their 2nd year, Stottlemyre & Helling were established ML’ers.

      As for the “25 starts and 150 quality innings” criteria, only Helling & Verlander fit it. IIRC, they were also the only two to make it through a full season.

      That we have to drill down this far to find anything, says that the concerns (for lack of a better word) you and Pete Abe have aren’t that serious. More often than not, there have been teams that have made the playoffs, and succeeded with a “patchwork of fives.”

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