Thursday, May 22, 2008
A Few Myths About the Yankees
Joba Should Be Starting
Nope. And there's a bunch of reasons for this. Let's break this down:
a) There are more great #1 starters than intimidatingly dominant closers. The list of intimidatingly dominant closers is 2:
1) Rivera, Mo
2) Pabelbon, Douchebag
The list of great #1 starters:
1) Halladay, Roy
2) Sabathia, C.C.
3) Bedard, Erik
4) Santana, Johan
5) Zambrano, Carlos
6) Oswalt, Roy
7) Webb, Brandon
8) Peavy, Jake
9) Beckett, Josh
That's 9-2 in favor of closers and that list doesn't even include Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels, Dan Haren, Chien Ming Wang, or some other borderline great pitchers who will make the leap over the next few years. If you want to include a few more elite closers, I'll throw in Nathan, Putz, and K-Rod, but it's still 9-5 in favor of starters. Ask players around the league. Shit, ask Merloni if he's still alive; the key to the Yankees dynasty was Rivera. Not to take anything away from Jimmy Key, David Cone, David Wells, Andy Pettite, or the artist formerly known as Roger Clemens, but without Rivera, they would have had maybe 1 or 2 world series, not 4.
b) Starting pitchers aren't as valuable anymore.
Without trying to sound like the angry old man, baseball isn't like it used to be. Starting pitchers are good and well, and they're certainly necessary, but you don't automatically move your top 5 pitchers into the starting rotation anymore. Starting pitchers are trained to go 6 innings and then it's up to the relievers to carry the day.
c) Great pitchers are rare. When you have a pitcher who is great at anything, you don't mess with his specialty.
Look, there's a chance that Joba will be a great starter. A damn good chance. I'd put the odds at an unscientific 60%. But there's also roughly a 95% chance that he's going to be a great closer. What we know right now is that Joba can be a great closer and setup man. Will he be a great starter? Possibly. But what if he's not a great starter? What if he has Kennedy-like trouble transitioning to a major league starter? Isn't there a chance that his psyche is too screwed up to return him to a stud closer? Why not just keep him where he is, where he's one of the best in the game, and watch him give us a clear advantage over other the other 31 teams?
d) Remember Kyle Farnsworth?
What, you thought Jeff Nelson's country ass was coming back to pitch the 8th?
Better Solid Starting Pitching Will Change The Yankees' Fortunes
Nope. The starting pitching may not be the solution, but it's not the problem. I'm not sure what the starting pitchers' ERA is, but as of right now, it's 4.37. For a team that was supposed to threaten 1,000 runs this year, (equal to over 6 runs/game) a 4.37 ERA should be enough to win games. (By 1.63 runs/game, if you want to be a dick about it.) Part of the problem is the injuries to Posada and A-Rod, part of it is the fact that this team just doesn't hit. So whether Joba's mowing people down to the tune of 6 innings 2 runs or Pettite giving a 5 inning/4 run performance, the two runs that the Yankees seem to score on their better nights isn't going to cut it.
Cashman Should Have Traded Hughes And Kennedy For Johan
No one is doubting Johan's greatness. But is Hughes really going to spend his career on the DL Mark Prior-style? Is Kennedy going to maintain a career 9.00 ERA? In a word: no, no, and hell no. Did I miss something? Were Hughes and Kennedy supposed to win 20 this year? Granted, at this pace, they'll be lucky to combine for 10, but they need time. Sorry to say Yankee fans, but this is a rebuilding year. It's been a while, but they have to happen every once in a while. Speaking of which...
Cashman Should Be Fired
Most of New York did not want to see the Yankees give up Hughes AND Kennedy (and oh by the way, Melky). So to fault Cashman for not making this trade because the two of them have both had lousy first halves is ridiculous. All of New York was down with this youth movement and I'm calling BS on anyone who says differently. And I agree that Cashman's job is on the line with the development of Kennedy, Hughes and Joba. If Kennedy and Hughes still suck by the end of next season then yes, Cashman has to go. But can we please give these guys some time to develop?
Jason Giambi Is An Embarrassment To His Craft
Nah, this one's true.