• Report: Yanks To Add Starting Pitcher In Next 12 Days

    Posted by on December 21st, 2009 · Comments (82)

    Via Mike Puma

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s list of naughty and nice still includes a few starting pitchers in the latter category.

    With his everyday lineup for 2010 set, Cashman has turned attention to the rotation, and will almost certainly add a starter by New Year’s, according to a major league source.

    Cashman is believed to have inquired about Carlos Zambrano, but with the Cubs’ asking price high for the 28-year-old right-hander — who is coming off an injury-plagued 2009 — it’s more probable the Yankees will go the free-agent route.

    That means selecting from a pool that includes Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro and Ben Sheets, any of whom would slot behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte in the Yankees’ rotation.

    The increased sense of urgency to add pitching depth comes after the Red Sox last week signed John Lackey to a five-year contract worth $82.5 million and added him to a rotation that includes Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

    Adding another starter would allow the Yankees to keep Phil Hughes in the bullpen next season or have him assume the fifth spot in the rotation with Joba Chamberlain reclaiming a bullpen role.

    Betcha it’s Ben Sheets. He’s been on Cashman’s radar for a long time.

    Comments on Report: Yanks To Add Starting Pitcher In Next 12 Days

    1. December 21st, 2009 | 1:32 pm

      MJ wrote:

      You do realize, however, that you’re ignoring all the other draft picks in a draft. The Yanks drafted Jackson in the 9th round. What about him? What about signability cases?

      Fine. I was trying to make it easy on you. But, have it your way.

      Look at their top 10 draft picks from each draft since 2003 until 2007 and tell me how they’ve had more hits than misses. And, once that’s proven, I’ll agree that they’ve done a good job with the farm system. But, if it’s more misses than hits, what will you say then?

    2. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 1:39 pm

      Corey wrote:

      I disagree. He throws the same pattern every game.

      Pitch pattern is only one part of the problem. Sure, changing the pattern would improve things but until Chamberlain proves that he can throw his breaking pitch for a called strike, it doesn’t matter if he throws the SL on every two-strike count or not. Even if he changed his pattern and threw the SL in the dirt on the first pitch of an AB, the fact remains that (1) he’s currently a two-pitch pitcher and it’s hard to have an unpredictable pattern when there are only two pitches to choose from and (2) the ability to get called strikes dramatically increases a pitcher’s arsenal such that even if he’s only a two-pitch pitcher, a hitter has to respect the SL in the dirt as much as the SL inside that gets called for a strike. John Lackey is a perfect example of this with his two distinct breaking balls.

      Corey wrote:

      The fact that he doesnt use his CB would be in agreement with me, no? Someone needs to decide to throw the CB for it to be thrown, no?

      No. You’re assuming that no one ever calls the CB. I have no idea what Posada, Molina and Cervelli called for Chamberlain but I assume that if Chamberlain were confident enough to thow something other than his FB and SL, he’d throw a third pitch with greater regularity. That tells me that he and the team (Girardi, Eiland, the catchers) don’t like that pitch as it is currently constituted. Considering the argument for Chamberlain the starter was always that he was a four-pitch pitcher, something has changed.

    3. Evan3457
      December 21st, 2009 | 1:46 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ Corey:Here’s my line there.
      It’s one thing to go out and flat buy a player – like he did with CC, Tex, and AJ. And, it’s another thing to go out and trade for a player and then give him tons of money.
      What’s the difference? It works like this:
      When you go out and flat out buy a player, it shows that you can only acquire talent by buying it – and can only be smart if your owner has deep pockets and is willing to spend. And, when you buy a player on the free agent market, like CC, Tex, and AJ, you’re dealing with other bidders on an open market and then have to pay top dollar on the player if you want to win.
      But, trading for a player and then locking him up, extending him, etc., then you’re showing that you’re an astute GM who has built up a surplus of talented prospects that other teams desire – and you’re using your chips to acquire a player before he hits the open market – and before other teams can enrty the bidding on his contract demands, raising the price to the MAX, etc.
      For an example: See what the Phillies did to get Halladay. They used prospects to get him before he hit the open market and then extended him to a contract that was big – but not as big as it would have been if he had been a free agent.
      The Granderson deal, if Granderson were a superstar instead of a good but flawed player, would be an example of a smart GM move. Buying CC, Tex and AJ for a half-billion dollars is just taking your owners huge wads of cash and blowing everyone else out of the water. And, without that dough, you’re not so smart anymore…

      Look, this is just plain wrong.

      Cashman HAD the prospects to deal for Santana. We know this, because the Twins asked them for several different packages. Cashman simply judged it smarter not to use them for Santana, but to save them for used in other deals, when all he had to do was wait one year, and sign Sabathia.

      And he’s not only right in the general case, his judgement was also right in this specific case, because they won this year’s title with Sabathia, and would not have won it with Santana.

      In general, if you can trade for a player and sign him to a big deal, or just sign him to a big deal, why is the trade of valuable prospects “proof of being a superior GM”? That’s exactly backwards, as far as I can see.

      As for Granderson not being part of a “good GM move” just because he’s not a superstar, that’s just plain wrong. It’s a good move if he does a good job. He doesn’t have to be a superstar for it to be a good move. In the 70’s, the Yanks built a mini-dynasty on the basis of a hefty number of trades, and none of the players obtained were superstars, although many were good solid players: Graig Nettles, Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow, Lou Piniella, Rudy May, Ed Figueroa, Willie Randolph, Bucky Dent, Fran Healy, Mike Torrez, Cliff Johnson.

      I simply don’t see the logic there.

    4. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 1:50 pm

      MJ wrote:

      No. You’re assuming that no one ever calls the CB. I have no idea what Posada, Molina and Cervelli called for Chamberlain but I assume that if Chamberlain were confident enough to thow something other than his FB and SL, he’d throw a third pitch with greater regularity.

      No, you misread my post. Part of what I said was :

      I really, really, really think if they had a good game caller behind the plate and he would listen, Joba would be that good as a starter.

      key part for this is that “he would listen” part. Therefore, if its being put down and hes shaking it off, u agree with me that they need to get him to listen.

      I think the problem was that he had too much success with the FB/slider, and he just went to it everytime because of it. His curve ball is every bit as nasty as we remember.

    5. Evan3457
      December 21st, 2009 | 1:56 pm

      MJ wrote:

      @ Raf:
      @ Corey:
      -Trading for Granderson is fine, except that Mike Cameron’s the same player (offensively and defensively), costs less, and doesn’t need to be acquired via trade.

      I don’t think he is.
      He’s eight years older, and bats righty, not lefty, so he’s not equipped to take advantage of the porch at the Stadium. His speed is starting to go (check the diminishing SB totals of the last several years).
      Granderson is better, and is a better risk to stay better for the next 2-3 years.

    6. Evan3457
      December 21st, 2009 | 1:58 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Corey wrote:

      But, this only works when you’re the G.M. of the New York Yankees and you have owners who are willing to spend $200 million a year on players. And, that’s my beef with Cashman.
      If he were the G.M. of the Twins, Rays, Brewers or Marlins, he could not play that money card. In fact, he probably couidn’t play it the way he does here, if he were in L.A., Boston, Chicago or with the Mets (today).
      He’s not special. He only spends money. And, when he doesn’t spend money, and tries to go the conventional GM route, he makes bad trades for pitching, etc. And, that’s why I think he’s a limited and flawed GM.

      So, in other words, because he adapts normal strategic GM thinking to suit the unique position he’s in, he’s NOT smart.
      Interesting theory.

    7. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:05 pm

      Corey wrote:

      I really, really, really think if they had a good game caller behind the plate and he would listen, Joba would be that good as a starter.
      key part for this is that “he would listen” part. Therefore, if its being put down and hes shaking it off, u agree with me that they need to get him to listen.

      If Chamberlain is shaking them off, that doesn’t mean they’re not calling good games. Assuming you’re right — that the catchers call poor games — and also assuming that they call for the CB/CH — the pitches Joba is shaking off — how have we proven that they’re calling bad games? Presumably asking for Chamberlain to throw a wider variety of pitches, thus modifying his pitch pattern to some extent, wouldn’t indicate bad game-calling to me.

      If you want to tell me that the catchers on the club bear some responsibility for Chamberlain’s poor 2009, I”ll accept that only insofar as we don’t exactly know what they’re calling and thus can’t make a complete analysis of the pitch selection problem.

      But that still doesn’t change the fact that Chamberlain hasn’t proven that he can throw his breaking pitches for called strikes, nor that he can completely command the strikezone with his fastball. That’s got nothing to do with his catchers.

    8. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:11 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Re Cammy being a RHB and Granderson being a LHB, fair enough. I don’t think that’s a very big deal against Cammy but, fine, I’ll give you that.

      Re: declining SB totals, that’s just not very scientific analysis. You can’t judge a player’s speed based only on SB totals. I didn’t watch any Brewers games last year to know why he only attempted 10 SB’s in ’09, down from 22 in ’08 or 23 in ’07 but given the fact that he still played exceptional defense last year, you’re not going to convince me that his speed vanished last year. It would show up in his ability to cover CF.

    9. G.I. Joey
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:14 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Corey wrote:
      What do you mean? It’s not like 1 of our starters happened to be drafted in the 22nd round or something crazy like that right?
      Phil Coke was the 26th round selection of the Yanks in 2002. He was traded to make room for the emergence of the Yanks 33rd round selection in the 2004 draft, Mike Dunn.
      I could go on.

      Not not to mention who Corey is originally referring to, Andy Pettitte.

    10. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:17 pm

      MJ wrote:

      If Chamberlain is shaking them off, that doesn’t mean they’re not calling good games. Assuming you’re right — that the catchers call poor games — and also assuming that they call for the CB/CH — the pitches Joba is shaking off — how have we proven that they’re calling bad games?

      Then the catchers need to grow a set and make him throw what they say.

      Was it major league where the pitcher wouldnt throw what the catcher told him to so the catcher tipped the hitter as to what was coming? Maybe they need to do this during ST to get into his head? i dunno. They gotta get him to change somehow.

    11. G.I. Joey
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:19 pm

      Corey wrote:

      MJ wrote:
      If Chamberlain is shaking them off, that doesn’t mean they’re not calling good games. Assuming you’re right — that the catchers call poor games — and also assuming that they call for the CB/CH — the pitches Joba is shaking off — how have we proven that they’re calling bad games?
      Then the catchers need to grow a set and make him throw what they say.
      Was it major league where the pitcher wouldnt throw what the catcher told him to so the catcher tipped the hitter as to what was coming? Maybe they need to do this during ST to get into his head? i dunno. They gotta get him to change somehow.

      Bull Durham. Kevin Costner tips the batter that Tim Robbins is going to throw the FB.

    12. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:28 pm

      @ Corey:
      You’re not going to sabotage your own pitcher in ST just to prove a point. Girardi, Eiland and the catchers have a plan for Chamberlain and it’s up to that group of people to implement and execute it. There’s a reason why Chamberlain became a two-pitch pitcher and it goes beyond the theories that the catchers have no balls or that Chamberlain is merely hard-headed. Apparently all parties lost confidence in Chamberlains other pitches.

      He needs time in AAA to figure this stuff out. I just don’t see why this is such a big deal. The Red Sox had Buchholz in AAA for half the year and he came back looking as good as advertised in 2008. With just a cursory glance at the 2010 schedule, it looks like the Yanks won’t need their #5 starter in the rotation until mid-May. Why not start out with that date in mind and see if Chamberlain can’t re-discover his secondary pitches and improve his command and control?

      Can Chamberlain be a good big league starter? Yes, I think so. Is it just a matter of changing his pattern or having the catcher grow balls? No, it’s much deeper than that. Why is a temporary return to AAA considered so drastic?

    13. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:29 pm

      G.I. Joey wrote:

      Bull Durham. Kevin Costner tips the batter that Tim Robbins is going to throw the FB.

      Ah yes, thanks! I was drawing a blank for some reason i thought it was involving the terminator.

      Maybe Posada should do that in spring training?

    14. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:30 pm

      MJ wrote:

      @ Corey:
      You’re not going to sabotage your own pitcher in ST just to prove a point. Girardi, Eiland and the catchers have a plan for Chamberlain and it’s up to that group of people to implement and execute it. There’s a reason why Chamberlain became a two-pitch pitcher and it goes beyond the theories that the catchers have no balls or that Chamberlain is merely hard-headed. Apparently all parties lost confidence in Chamberlains other pitches.
      He needs time in AAA to figure this stuff out. I just don’t see why this is such a big deal. The Red Sox had Buchholz in AAA for half the year and he came back looking as good as advertised in 2008. With just a cursory glance at the 2010 schedule, it looks like the Yanks won’t need their #5 starter in the rotation until mid-May. Why not start out with that date in mind and see if Chamberlain can’t re-discover his secondary pitches and improve his command and control?
      Can Chamberlain be a good big league starter? Yes, I think so. Is it just a matter of changing his pattern or having the catcher grow balls? No, it’s much deeper than that. Why is a temporary return to AAA considered so drastic?

      Cause we have 4 starters including him. (I don’t buy Hughes the starter yet).

    15. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:34 pm

      Corey wrote:

      Cause we have 4 starters including him. (I don’t buy Hughes the starter yet).

      If the Yanks sign Sheets and/or Duchscherer — something that seems pretty likely to happen — your argument against goes away entirely.

      Sabathia – Burnett – Pettitte – Sheets/Duchscherer with Aceves, Gaudin and Mitre (and Hughes) capable of picking up starts until at least mid-May.

    16. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:39 pm

      @ MJ:
      I think the real problem is going to end up being Hughes, not Joba, in the long run. Perhaps that’s why I am defending him so diligently. I have no problem sending Joba down as long as it doesn’t hurt the big club.

      One thing you should look at MJ, is Joba’s splits right around the threshold for his career high in innings pitched. You may find the results to be interesting. (I’ve made this argument many times in the past, don’t feel like retreading).

    17. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:40 pm

      Corey wrote:

      One thing you should look at MJ, is Joba’s splits right around the threshold for his career high in innings pitched.

      should read :

      One thing you should look at MJ, is Joba’s splits LAST YEAR right around the threshold for his career high in innings pitched.

    18. G.I. Joey
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:41 pm

      MJ wrote:
      Apparently all parties lost confidence in Chamberlains other pitches.

      I think this is exactly what happened and if they want this kid to be a starter they need to have him bring back the CB/CH and locate the SL better. Basically, if we want him to reach his ceiling he has to be able to effectively locate and change speeds. The best place to do this would be AAA. However, I don’t buy Hughes the starter yet either.

    19. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 2:51 pm

      Corey wrote:

      I think the real problem is going to end up being Hughes, not Joba, in the long run. Perhaps that’s why I am defending him so diligently. I have no problem sending Joba down as long as it doesn’t hurt the big club.

      Hughes has nothing to do with Chamberlain going back to AAA to work on things. As I illustrated above, if the Yanks sign another pitcher (as is the current rumor), neither Hughes nor Chamberlain becomes important to the Yankees as a starting pitcher before mid-May.

      I’m well aware of his numbers before he hit his career high in innings. The RAB boys have been patting themselves on the back for that one for several weeks now. That STILL doesn’t change the things you’re talking about regarding pitch pattern and it doesn’t change the things I’m talking about regarding pitch location. Innings only degrade the quality of the stuff, not the location or pattern of it. Even the freshest arm on earth can’t live with a SL that never touches the plate and even the most rested arm can’t live with only two pitches every time through the order.

      Until the RAB guys address those other factors, I’m not buying that it was *ONLY* a fatigue issue.

    20. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 3:05 pm

      MJ wrote:

      The RAB boys have been patting themselves on the back for that one for several weeks now.

      Ah, I actually stopped reading RAB.

    21. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 3:12 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Even the freshest arm on earth can’t live with a SL that never touches the plate and even the most rested arm can’t live with only two pitches every time through the order.

      My thinking is that I don’t think that Joba wants to throw it for a strike, not so much that he can’t.

      In any event, I think it’s best to assume this is the team we are going to camp with rather then assuming that they will sign another pitcher. We may well end up with a starter, but it’s not written in stone either.

    22. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 3:21 pm

      Corey wrote:

      My thinking is that I don’t think that Joba wants to throw it for a strike, not so much that he can’t.

      Why on earth wouldn’t you want Chamberlain to be able to throw a breaking pitch for a called strike? Without the ability to get a breaking pitch — any non-FB pitch, really — called for a strike, then Chamberlain will never succeed in the big leagues as a starting pitcher. There’s no such thing as a successful MLB pitcher if he can’t throw a non-FB for a called strike.

      Corey wrote:

      In any event, I think it’s best to assume this is the team we are going to camp with rather then assuming that they will sign another pitcher. We may well end up with a starter, but it’s not written in stone either.

      Cashman has said enough times that the Yanks are signing another pitcher. I believe him.

    23. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 3:33 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Why on earth wouldn’t you want Chamberlain to be able to throw a breaking pitch for a called strike?

      Huh? Who said that?

    24. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 3:37 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Cashman has said enough times that the Yanks are signing another pitcher. I believe him.

      Just like Cashman said Bubba was our CFer.

    25. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 3:41 pm

      @ Corey:
      Sorry, misread what you said. You said you don’t think Joba wants to throw it for a strike, not that you don’t want him to.

      Gotcha.

      Joba’s an idiot if he doesn’t want to throw his pitches for strikes. As to whether he can or not, nobody knows since he never does.

    26. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 3:44 pm

      Corey wrote:

      Just like Cashman said Bubba was our CFer.

      Except that the situations are not parallel. In the Crosby situation, he was saying that the team could have a shitty player in the starting lineup and ended up improving the team. In this situation, he’d be saying that he’ll improve the team but then not do so? Why would he say he’ll get another starting pitcher then?

      I don’t see these as identical situations.

      You actually believe the Yanks are going to pass on another starter?

    27. Corey
      December 21st, 2009 | 4:02 pm

      MJ wrote:

      You actually believe the Yanks are going to pass on another starter?

      For the right price, no they won’t pass. But I do believe that if the prices are too high, the Yanks would go into the year with what they have and if needed make a trade by the deadline.

    28. MJ
      December 21st, 2009 | 4:22 pm

      Corey wrote:

      For the right price, no they won’t pass. But I do believe that if the prices are too high, the Yanks would go into the year with what they have and if needed make a trade by the deadline.

      I’ll bet just about anything that the Yanks sign a free agent starter between now and the start of the season.

      I don’t know if it’ll be Sheets, Duchscherer or someone else but I see no reason why Cashman would constantly talk about adding a pitcher and then not do so.

    29. Evan3457
      December 21st, 2009 | 4:58 pm

      MJ wrote:

      JOM wrote:

      Second, for all the talk of Cameron’s decline, it still hasn’t happened yet. You do realize that he was as valuabe in 2009 as Granderson was?

      You do realize you’re comparing Cameron’s average value to Granderson’s value in an off-year, right?

    30. Evan3457
      December 21st, 2009 | 5:13 pm

      MJ wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      Re Cammy being a RHB and Granderson being a LHB, fair enough. I don’t think that’s a very big deal against Cammy but, fine, I’ll give you that.

      Re: declining SB totals, that’s just not very scientific analysis. You can’t judge a player’s speed based only on SB totals. I didn’t watch any Brewers games last year to know why he only attempted 10 SB’s in ‘09, down from 22 in ‘08 or 23 in ‘07 but given the fact that he still played exceptional defense last year, you’re not going to convince me that his speed vanished last year. It would show up in his ability to cover CF.

      Fair enough; SB is one indicator. Triples are another. Cameron used to be good for 5-9 triples a season. Last two seasons, 3.
      If you go by UZR his defensive range has improved significantly at age 35 and 36. That is extremely suspect and very rare. A player has to make major changes to his game (Jeter) and even then, he’s fighting father time. It is more like a ballpark effect. UZR says that Cameron was better than Granderson last season. BIS’ +/- numbers says is was the other way around; Granderson was the 3rd best regular CF, and Cameron, 16th best.
      ==================
      Let’s assume that defensively, they’re more or less even. The minor difference between the two is that Granderson is better suited to take advantage of Yankee Stadium that Cameron. A second minor difference is that Cameron has been in the NL the last several years; the AL is tougher. The major difference is eight years of age. It is the difference between a player in his prime, and a player who is past his prime, and at age where serious decline could be 2-3 years away, or it could be tomorrow.

      I would still rather have Granderson.

    31. jdg
      December 22nd, 2009 | 5:32 am

      The smart GM move is to look at your assets and leverage them, period. So Cashman shouldn’t pretend he’s the GM of the KC Royals, searching the baseball garbage cans for a thrown-out piece of chicken leg.

      That aside, trading young prospects for older, used-to-be or might-be-for-a-while-longer talent is moronic. You pay premium dollars and premium talent. Do the math. Now that fewer players are on the juice, a lot less are gong to play well into their late 30s. So it’s especially stupid now.

      The Yanks didn’t re-sign Matsui because they didn’t think he’d make it through 2010 healthy. They also have the best hitter in the minors in the wings (Montero) in case Johnson is injured.

      Joba should stay in the rotation. He’s finally got the innings limit out of the way and so we’ll see now if he can be aggressive and put together long stretches of elite performance.

    32. MJ
      December 22nd, 2009 | 9:12 am

      Fair enough; SB is one indicator. Triples are another. Cameron used to be good for 5-9 triples a season. Last two seasons, 3.
      ———–
      Could it be that park factors plays into that too? After all, Petco plays huge and Miller is a very HR-friendly place.

      I think you’re misinterpreting what I’m saying here. I’m not saying that I didn’t want Granderson or that he’s a scrub as compared to Cameron. I’m just saying that Cameron would’ve been a worthwhile addition to the ballclub, either in addition to Granderson or as a cheaper alternative to him.

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