The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Monday, August 22, 2011

CBS Sports: Yankees, other teams scouting Rich Harden

On Friday night, Rich Harden showed flashes of the dominance that has given him chance after chance to pitch in the majors despite being one of the most brittle baseball players to play the game.

Harden struck out 11 batters, including striking out the side on nine pitches in the first after loading the bases on an error and two walks. He walked a total of four batters and allowed just two hits in a near-unhittable performance over seven innings, downing the Blue Jays. It was a great game for scouts to watch, as the San Francisco Chronicle notes that scouts from several teams in contention have been keeping tabs on Harden, including the Yankees, who took in Harden’s previous two starts.

Seven man rotation?  Makes all kinds of sense to me.

--Posted at 9:29 am by SG / 82 Comments | - (0)


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If only AJ had Harden’s special ability…

I can’t wait to see what our bulpen is capable of in the playoffs.  There might be a market inefficiency going on here a bit.  A team that’s good enough to make the playoffs maybe “should” overpay to secure a crazy bulpen.  Instead of wasting roster spots w/ LOOGYs, just get lights out guys that can go 4 outs each.  Hope to get your mediocre (by playoff team’s standards) starters give you a QS or even just two times through the lineup.

[2] I think they need to figure out (and quick) if the 2 starters that won’t pitch in the playoffs are in their top 11 pitchers (they carried 11 pitchers in 2010.)

Let’s say Burnett and, I don’t know, Garcia?,  are currently on the outside of the rotation looking in. Definitely on the playoff rotation is:



That’s 9. To me, it’s a no brainer that you would carry Burnett and Garcia instead of Ayala and Noesi, and use Burnett and/or Garcia out of the bullpen.

How ridiculous would the BP be if Joba hadn’t shredded his elbow?

Pretty ridiculous. I feel good about this team.

In theory, the Yankees should just use C.C. Hughes, Nova, Colon, A.J. Logan, Soriano, Robertson, Mo out of the bullpen every single game.  All for 1 inning each.

Also, I just saw this pointed out somewhere else…

The Mariners team slugging % is lower than the Yankees and Red Sox team OBP

[4] I am just happy to finally be at peace with the idea that they kept Joba out of the rotation because they knew the elbow was starting to shred and they realized they couldn’t even try to trade him because he wouldn’t pass the physical. Not only does this help me sleep at night, it also excuses Joba eschewing postseasons workouts in favor of drunken shenanigans (maybe they told him to save the wear and tear on the arm and get drunk instead since it worked for David Wells).

[6] Jack Z is building quite the team there.

You can never have to much pitching, etc etc.  I guess.

[8] Justin Smoak is the owner of a .310 wOBA.

[7] all-star post

If Townies rejected him shouldn’t we listen to the voice of reason?

[12] Townies didn’t actually reject Hardening, my esteemed bebop.  They just tried to screw the A’s out of one of the proposed players in the deal, based on Hardening’s medical records.  Otoh you may be right since Theo knows everything.  He’s omniknoweverything.

Sherman made some good, sabermetrically-oriented points about the strength of the Yankees’ outfield in a column yesterday.  Mostly I like Sherman for reporting on behind-the-scenes stuff and FO politics.  But this column was also mostly sound analytically, with the added pleasure of pointing out what a bust Carl Crawfish has been this year.

[13] I can imagine how that conversation goes.

Theo: “Billy, we’ve got a problem with this Harden guy. Did you know that his shoulder was messed up?”

Beane: “Is that a serious question?”

Anybody surprised by the Jered Weaver contract extension?

[6] My plan involves using Nova and CC as 3-4 inning starters every other start Having Colon/Garcai shadow CC and Hughes shadow Nova for another 2-3 innings and let the BP take the rest.

[8] - Who needs players to hit? Z built this team on the new market inefficiency. Defensive stats. He’s the new Billy Beane!

[18] Also, trading Brandon Morrow for a mediocre reliever. Genius!

Z needs a ten-year contract to put his theory to work.

[14] Link?

That’s 9. To me, it’s a no brainer that you would carry Burnett and Garcia instead of Ayala and Noesi, and use Burnett and/or Garcia out of the bullpen.

I don’t think it’s obvious that you’d carry AJ instead of Noesi.  I don’t even think it’s obvious considering their contracts.


[0] My two-cents…Yankees put in a waiver claim on him to block him from clearing waivers and potentially ending up on a contender.  Before doing so, they wanted to see how much of a risk it was if they got stuck with the claim.  If the scouts say he’s completely worthless, don’t even bother with the claim.  If however, he can be useful - even as a spare arm in September - then make the claim.

[24] I was thinking along these lines too.

Is Nova’s stuffed wicked enough to beat the better hitting teams? Does he need more 10 k games to reach the next level?

[16] A little…sure sounded like he was going to FA.  But this should also remind us for this off-season to not say stuff like, “we’ll pass on pitcher X b/c we’ll get a pitcher in the FA class next off-season”.  Waiting for players to become FA rarely works.

Figure CC can either pitch games 1 and 4 or 2 and 5 of the ALDS, right?  If that’s the case, I start a reliever in game 1.  Say Soriano.  If he can give you two innings, you have a better sense of the game by then.  If the score is tied, then you go with CC, hoping that the only other reliever you’d need to use is Mo.  If the spread of the score is more than 2 runs, you go w/ a lesser starter (or an all hands on deck bulpen) and save CC for game 2. 

The problem of going w/ relievers after starters is that you run out of outs to use them.  In other words, if you get to the 7th and still have Soriano, Robertson and Mo, it’s hard to use any of them for more than 3 outs.  If you start them, though, you can ride the hot hand of a reliever, should one develop.  If Robertson gets 3 outs on 8 pitches, you can get a little more out of him.

[26] Yes.  Not the same thing, but a close proxy: In 2011, Nova has 67 IP against teams with winning records.  He’s 7-3 with a 3.49 ERA and 1.3 WHIP.  He’s worst three games are against TWN (natch), SEA, and KCR.

[24] Harden is a FA this season and next year the Yankees could very well just be CC, Nova, Hughes and Manny/Dellin.  Harden might be getting looks because the Yankees intend to sign him.  If they pick him up before hand, all the better.  I can’t imagine they’d be interested in gambling on both Garcia and Colon for another season if there are better options out there.

What’s Harden contract situation like? Opt out insurance? Or too early?

[29] And suddenly Robertson is going 6 innings. Cleva Girl!

[28] IDK if they waited for him.  That is, I don’t think they passed on signing any pitchers prior to the 2008 season b/c they were saving $$ and a rotation slot for CC.  I also don’t think they passed on Johan b/c they were waiting on CC, they passed on Johan b/c the Twins were asking for too much.

I bring this up b/c RAB - I think specifically Mike A - for a while now has been talking about passing on CJ Wilson specifically b/c they should save their $$ and a spot for the host of good FA pitchers who should be available after next year (Grienke, Hamels, formerly Weaver, a few others).  If they pass on Wilson it should be b/c they think the contract isn’t worth it, not b/c they should wait for better, which may not happen.

[16]  There was a good comment at bbtf where they broke down the amount of money (after taxes) per year for the rest of Weaver’s life.  I think it was 1.7 that he’s going to get and the theoretical 2.2 that he could have gotten IF he stayed healthy through 2012 and tested the open market.  He’s now removed all the risk to secure a lifetime amount of money.  Heck, he can get Shawn Kemp fat if he wanted to.

[33] I’m not a huge Wilson fan, but he’s definitely a very good pitcher. I would sell body parts to see Hamels in pinstripes.

[31] FA after this year.  They could be wanting to get him in with Rothschild and their own doctors early to try to get a better idea of if they want to go after him in the off-season.  But I think it is most likely they were just evaluating whether or not a blocking-claim was worth it.

[35] Which body parts?

[35] Whose ? I hear we are tollerably well stocked in appendicii.

[34] And have as many kids as Shawn Kemp.

[29] When Girardi uses a bunch of relievers at the end of the game, we call it finding the guy who just doesn’t have it tonight. Not sure how it would different if done from the start of the game. Not saying in wouldn’t work, just sayin’.

[35] Sure…but Hamels could blow out his arm next year, or decide to re-up w/ Philly, or…I don’t want to give Wilson a Lee type of contract, but an AJ contract?  Well, not my money, so…of course, the BETTER solution (after CC re-ups) would be if Nova/Hughes can look like #2 starters or better from here out, so the Yankees don’t need to pursue a starter in the off-season (leaving the 5th spot for a rookie/Noesi to win).  Even better is if they signed Wilson and told AJ he was competing with the rookie for a rotation spot.

[22] I guess I could see the rational for Noesi over Burnett. I’m more imagining a situation where Burnett, as a reliever, is (way) more effective than as a starter.

[41] I’m not saying you pass over Wilson in favor of Hamels. But I am saying that Hamels is superior to Wilson.

[37] You offering cash? How much?

Even better is if they signed Wilson and told AJ he was competing with the rookie for a rotation spot.

I would like to see the surveillance video from that meeting.

[35]  What if you gave up a kidney to get Hamels to the Yankees, and then it turned out he needed a kidney transplant and the only compatible donor was you?  WHAT DO YOU DO?????

Objective pipe says AJ for two more years.

I hate that pipe.

[45] Take the Kidney back and give it to Hamels. Still warm.

But, vill, the objective pipe also says he’ll be pretty good for those two years, just as he’s been pretty good this year.
So all’s well, right?

I’d be interested in seeing Dick Harden on the Yanks.

I followed Mel’s link, and that was a fine article by Sherman.  I wonder if he has an assistant who takes over while Sherman takes August in the Hamptons.

While at the Post, I decided to read Mushnick for the first time in years.  Nothing changes, God bless him.

Where do you look up run support?  Is it the runs scored by his team in games the pitcher starts, in innings he pitches, or in innings he completes?  The first, I presume?

lol @ Dick Harden

Another day in first place for the Yankees.

[52] Wow. Totally missed that. Nice.

[7] Re Joba, I think the argument ran “if he’s an injury risk, trade him - if he’s too obviously at risk, why’s he pitching, and not getting surgery before injuring something else in compensation?  And if he’s hurt how does relieving help?”  I guess in the won’t-pass-a-medical the argument for not just saying so is that teams will ask more in trade for relievers, but that seems like a very marginal argument to me, esp. since we’re there now.

I don’t think the Yankees deliberately said let’s pitch Joba until his arm shreds—that seems unlikely and self-defeating.  More likely is that they didn’t think his arm could stand up to starting, but would be okay in relief…and they were wrong.  As for why they didn’t trade him, why would they?  He’s a cost-controlled fireballing reliever. 

Countdown to the Dan Haren discsussion:  3, 2, 1…

So, if the postseason started tomorrow, and everyone was healthy, what would your rotation preference be?

I think I go 1. CC, 2. Garcia, 3. Hughes, 4. Nova.  Colon in the pen as a long man.  Burnett, shot into the run in a rocket ship.

I like Colon’s stuff better, but then again Garcia doesn’t really profile as a reliever.

[58]  I do too, but his last 5-6 starts he seem to be running out of gas.

I’m thinking you’re going to need 3 IP in relief of one (or more) of your 2-4 SPs, and his stuff might play up if he could go all out for 3 IP, rather than pacing himself.

[56] Apparently, Joba has an inverted-W motion which teams are beginning to believe is an injury prone motion.  It puts too much stress on the elbow.  So the idea is, move him to the bullpen, where getting 80-ish innings a year, less stress/opportunity for an injury.  Two other options come to mind…1) rebuild his mechanics to get rid of the inverted-W 2) trade him and let him be someone else’s problem.

For #1, I have no idea how easy it is to make radical changes to a pitcher’s throwing mechanics.  I know Keith Law has been hyper-crticial of some organizations which have done so with pitchers in the minors.  So there is a high-risk that you change Joba’s rotation, and he doesn’t get hurt because he sucks too much to pitch.  For #2, it’s still a matter of trying to correctly assess the value of him as a trade chip.  E.g. say on a scale of 1-1000, Joba as a reliever rates as worth 400, but teams are only offering you trades valuing him at 300.  Do you take the trade and leave value on the table - especially if he’s still helping you in the bullpen?

Mike, if you’re using a hypothetical 1-1000 scale, make the most of it. 

“Joba as a reliever rates as worth 412, but teams are only offering you trades valuing him at 297.”

Seriously, your point is correct, but the shorter analysis is, why trade low-cost Joba when the Yankees already pay much more for much worse relievers?

[51] Go to BBRef and click on “More Stats” for pitchers.  Scroll down to Starting Pitching*.  RS/G is runs scored for the entire game the pitcher started.  RS/IP is runs scored per 27 outs, while the pitcher was in the game.  Not sure exactly how that works…e.g. if Yankees score 8 runs the first 6 innings on the road, and Hughes is starting but is relieved 2 outs into the 6th, do they give him (8/17 * 27) 12.7 RS/IP for the game?

Mike, if you’re using a hypothetical 1-1000 scale, make the most of it.

Didn’t want to get overly dramatic - I figured this was a script for a comedy. wink

Seriously, your point is correct, but the shorter analysis is

Well if you want to go and make me seem long-winded!

[57] I like that.  AJ could still have a role on the post-season roster.  As in, we’re getting bombed and don’t want to waste an important pitcher.  So whose arm are we not worried about shredding?

[52] Wow. How did this not cross my mind sooner?

[56] This is pretty much where I’m at.  Joba was an injury risk, they looked at his medicals and saw that his risk of shredding his arm was higher as a starter and less so as a reliever.  Hence, the whole “Joba will not be a starter.  Why? Shut up, that’s why” discussion.  I’m sure they discussed it with Joba and he made the call.

However, now that he’s shredded his arm and had it surgically repaired, the question could be is the risk gone or still there because of his mechanics ([60])?  Could he be a starter again or is he a reliever now and forever?

And isn’t an inverted W an M?

There’s an “actor”/entertainer who does kids’ birthday parties, and also appeared in a potty training video.

His name is Hardin Minor.

For real.

And isn’t an inverted W an M?

That always bothered me as well.  I just figured “inverted W” sounds better.

[66] The thing about the inverted W is that it’s going to (supposedly) destroy his shoulder, not his elbow. The stress on the elbow is sort of a byproduct of bad mechanics he’s always had, or maybe adjustments he made after the 2008 shoulder injury.

Chris O’Leary has a lot on the inverted W, with frame by frame pics. The list of inverted W victims is long and distinguished. Inverted W

I also found it funny that he includes delivery analysis on some ceremonial first pitches. Harold Ramos doesn’t look so bad

[69] Wow, that O’Leary link is interesting. Thanks.

[70]  I agree.  And I see why it’s called an inverted W.  I’m not qualified to comment on the biomechanics—I don’t even understand them—but you can clearly see the difference in deliveries.

The stills and videos are clearly chosen to support his argument; I wonder if there are counter-examples of pitchers with long successful careers who did use the inverted W.

Hmmm… that is an interesting article. Not sure about the accuracy of his theory since I didn’t RTFA on his other posts. Stuff like this makes the interwebs an awesome place to hang out when you should be working.

That phrase is going to define Cashman, isn’t it?  It’s his “Mission Accomplished.”

“I admit without a doubt he has not pitched like a No. 2 and he is not our No. 2, the way he’s thrown, without a doubt,” Cashman said. “I thought a lot of the stuff was getting well overblown, treating him like he is Oliver Perez. That is irritating stuff and that is what I responded to [a little more than a week ago].”

That phrase is going to define Cashman, isn’t it?  It’s his “Mission Accomplished.”

There’s still time for cockles lantern to set a new standard.

[76] I think you’re missing an n in there somewhere.

Do we have any stills or stop motion video to help determine whether Swisher’s pitching motion is an inverted-W or an inverted-M ?

I hear Sabathia’s mechanics have been called the inverted NY, where if you look at both shoulders just as his landing foot touches down, you can see the NY in his form. Therefore, I doubt he will exercise his opt out clause this winter.

But the white people hear already voted to have CC opt out and walk.

[80] I’m white and I approve this message.

[80] What are you, some kind of anti-dentite?

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