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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2012 - CC Sabathia

I haven’t gone through the rest of the bench but I’m going to wait until we have an idea of who will be on it on Opening Day.  So it’s time to move on to the pitching projections.  We’ll start with the ace of the staff, CC Sabathia.

2011
Sabathia had his best season as a Yankee in 2011.  He put up an ERA+ of 147 which was better than his 137 and 136 marks in 2009 and 2010 respectively.  Despite that, his season felt a bit disappointing because of how it finished.  The turning point appears to have been his July 26 start against Seattle.  Sabathia was dominating the Mariners through six innings.  He had retired all 18 batters he faced and struck out 11 of them.  There was a short rain delay, and CC returned to the mound to strike out Ichiro! 

Unfortunately, Brendan Ryan then singled to break up the perfecto.  CC struck out the next two hitters to finish off the seventh but he walked the first three hitters to start the eighth.  He managed to get out of it with allowing just one run and some kid named Rivera closed it out.

So why do I think that game was some kind of turning point?

dates ip bf h hr bb k ra era fip xfip
3/31-7/26 169 686 143 6 45 156 2.93 2.56 2.48 3.37
8/1-9/21 61 269 80 9 14 68 4.40 4.26 3.45 2.70
Dates fb% gb% ld% bb/bf k/bf babip hr/fb
3/31-7/26 30.4% 48.2% 21.4% 6.6% 22.7% .293 4.2%
8/1-9/21 28.4% 43.8% 27.8% 5.2% 25.3% .425 18.0%

bf: batters faced
fip: Fielding independent pitching
xfip: Expected fip (uses league average hr/fb rate instead of actual hr)
fb% Percentage of batted balls that were fly balls
gb% Percentage of batted balls that were ground balls
ld% Percentage of batted balls that were line drives
bb/bf: walks per batters faced
k/bf: strikeouts per batters faced
babip: batting average on balls in play

I don’t like to attribute all babip fluctuations to luck, but the truth is Sabathia’s peripherals were arguably better over the last two months of the season.  It just didn’t translate to his results.

In ALDS Game 1 vs. Detroit CC looked overpowering, better than Justin Verlander, but then the rains came again and he was out after two innings.  He took the hill again for Game 3 but wasn’t good, and he made a final appearance in relief in Game 5 and gave up the run that ended up being the difference in the series.

CC had an opt-out in his contract after the season and there was some legitimate concern that he’d opt out, but the Yankees were able to keep him in the fold by adding a year to his contract at a salary that bumped him back up to being the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.  Given the overall body of work over his first three seasons I don’t think many Yankee fans are upset about having him around for another year.

2012 Projections
Sabathia’s the clear #1 starter on the Yankees, and probably their most valuable player right now.  Here are his projections for 2012.

Projection IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
cairo 227 218 90 82 19 64 201 3.57 3.24 3.23 63 6.3
davenport 210 192 90 89 18 60 172 3.86 3.81 3.44 52 5.2
marcel 203 189 80 73 16 59 179 3.55 3.24 3.24 50 5.0
oliver 233 225 101 92 18 64 197 3.88 3.54 3.24 49 4.9
pecota 217 204 85 77 19 52 195 3.52 3.21 3.16 57 5.7
steamer 219 205 96 88 21 68 196 3.96 3.61 3.49 44 4.4
zips 218 211 92 86 19 63 189 3.80 3.55 3.36 47 4.7
average 218 206 90 84 19 61 190 3.73 3.46 3.31 52 5.2
2011 237 230 87 79 17 61 230 3.30 3.00 2.85 66 6.6
LgAvg 237 239 121 111 27 75 174 4.60 4.21 4.21

RA: Runs allowed per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs above replacement level (using RA adjusted for park)
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 10)

I’ve included his 2011 and the league average as frames of reference.  League average is based on role (starters vs. relievers), and is not adjusted for park so unlike with hitters mentally adjust that down a bit.

For pitchers, I’m using the following projections.

CAIRO, my own projection system.
Clay Davenport, formerly of Baseball Prospectus’s projections
An unofficial version of Tangotiger’s Marcel, which were run using code provided by Jeff Sackmann.
Oliver, from the Hardball Times Forecasts.
PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.
ZiPS, courtesy of Dan Szymborski at Baseball Think Factory.

A new addition for the pitchers is Steamer.  The hitter projections weren’t ready when I started this so I didn’t include them, but according to this article Steamer was the only thing that prevented CAIRO from being the best pitching projection system last year.  Steamer is similar to Marcel, but incorporates velocity data as well and it seemed to help it leap to the top of the 2011 projections.

There appears to be two distinct sets of projections here.

CAIRO/Marcel/PECOTA: 3.54 RA, 3.23 ERA, 3.21 FIP
Davenport/Oliver/Steamer/ZiPS: 3.87 RA, 3.63 ERA, 3.38 FIP

I think the first group is closer to the truth.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

% IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
80% 245 220 87 79 15 60 233 3.19 2.88 2.67 79 7.9
65% 236 219 89 80 17 62 217 3.38 3.06 2.90 71 7.1
Baseline 227 218 90 82 19 64 201 3.57 3.24 3.14 63 6.3
35% 204 203 85 78 19 61 175 3.76 3.42 3.37 53 5.3
20% 182 186 80 73 18 57 150 3.95 3.60 3.60 43 4.3

Sign me up for that 80% forecast.

The Yankees rotation is probably the deepest it’s been in years.  That being said, there’s CC and there’s everyone else.  I am pretty sure the group of Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte will project similarly to each other, with Freddy Garcia a bit behind them.  But none of them can replace Sabathia.  CC lost some weight this offseason to help reduce the strain on his knees.  Of course he did that last year too but seemed to gain it all back by year-end.

Let’s hope he can stay healthy and give the Yankees another great year.

--Posted at 8:58 am by SG / 71 Comments | - (0)

Comments

Page 1 of 1 pages:

Bottom line conclusion to the foregoing quantitative analysis: Loves me some CC.

Amirite, SG?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo-ddYhXAZc&feature=related

Only Ja Rule can make sense of all this shit.

So, what would you guys do with the rotation at this point?

I’m of the opininion that Pineda has to be in no matter what (excl. injury).

So, You’ve got CC, Kuroda, Pineda locked in.

Hughes has pitched too well to send down, or to the pen, and the velocity is encouraging.  I’d slot him at #4.

Nova is getting absolutely mauled: 12.2 IP, 16 H, 12 R, 11 ER, 4 HR, 1 BB, 9 K.

Has he pitched that bad?  Those 4 HRs make me think it’s not just BABIP luck.

At this point it seems like it’s him and Garcia for #5, with BattleCat looming.

[3] I watched Nova pitch last night.  In the first inning he was leaving fastballs with no movement up and over the middle of the plate.  The other innings he looked pretty good, or at least okay.  But he has options so he might get sent down.

Fuse will pull/strain/tighten something and won’t be back before the end of May.

C.C., Pineda, Kuroda, Hughes, Nova to start the season.  Garcia and Pettitte in extended spring training.  Trade Garcia (who really got screwed by the Yankees this off-season so try to make it right) and see how things are by the time Pettitte is ready to come back.  I’d guess the only two options are to remove Hughes or Nova from the rotation but no point in worrying about that decision until it becomes necessary.

[6] I’d go with the same thing. Gotta see if Hughes has it, same with Nova.

Not sure if Garcia can go to extended spring training without an injury - he has a guaranteed contract, no? If he really is pissed, he should allow them to trade him. I’m sure there are probably 10 teams that would take him and we’d get back someone quite useful.

It’d be pretty ridiculous if Nova gets sent down. The Yankees need to give at least 10-15 starts to see if the pitcher who returned from the Minor Leagues last season is for real. That’s a legit # 3 starter, even in a strong rotation. Spring Training stats are for mugs, for the most part. Though he is getting mugged out there, no question. Garcia is doomed to long relief then getting dealt, in my opinion.

If he really is pissed, he should allow them to trade him.

I’m sure if the choice was being a long man or allowing a trade he’d let them trade him.  Honestly, he had a good year least year and the Yankees signed him for back of the rotation money.  I’m sure he had every expectation he was going to be a starter this year.  The Yankees had a chance to make their team better and no one should fault them for doing that but at the same time I’m sure Garcia wouldn’t have signed knowing what he knows now.  If they made assurances to him that he had a rotation spot then make things right and trade him somewhere else where he has a chance to start.

Not sure if Garcia can go to extended spring training without an injury

Is his hand healed up yet?  And if it is, does he still have an appendix?

[9] I don’t know if they promised him a rotation spot, but being in a fight for 5th vs 6th starter is a lot different from being the 7th starter, especially with the number of near MLB ready arms the Yankees have in AAA.

If, say Hughes and Nova went down mid-season and Pettitte was back pitching well, would you go to Garcia over Phelps having a good season down at AAA? I’m not sure I would.

[10] You want a toe? I can get you a toe. There are ways, dude. You don’t want to know.

[11] I suppose it depends on particulars, right?  For a single spot-start, might go with Freddy.  Especially if it involves having to fly Phelps cross-country (Hughes has a car-door slammed on his hand the morning of a start in Seattle) that day.  In general, I’d rather go with Phelps.

There are good reasons to keep Freddy around.  There are good reasons to trade him.  No reason to do anything right now.  I think he goes north with the team, but we’ll wait and see.

How did Hughes look the other day?

[13] - It’s not just about what’s best for the Yankees.  If they had a certain understanding when signing him and then they need to honor that.  Yeah sticking him in the pen and having him as their #7 is better than having Phelps as their #7 but screwing over people isn’t good a good idea. 

Sticking A.J. as the #7 3 years into his contract is different than doing it to Garcia.

[13] That’s more or less how I feel, and is most likely why Freddy is not super happy about the Pettitte siging.

I can’t see sending down a player as good as we know Nova is based on 12 innings bad innings of spring baseball (which are only really bad on account of a few HRs; the rest of his stats are fine).  Twelve is a pretty SSS in any case, and I don’t really think pitchers can be assumed to be pitching in ST exactly the same way they would when the bell rings and the games start to count. 

And please don’t tell me the 12 innings’s worth of stats merely confirm in numbers how awful Nova “looks” to the naked eye.  No pitcher looks good giving up a HR every third inning he pitches.

[16] Well, it certainly depends on how the coaching staff thinks his pitching is, but, you can’t send Hughes down or to the pen with a 1.00 ERA while Nova’s in double digits.  Players’ have to believe spring performance matters.

If someone has to go to AAA, b/c they think they have to give Garcia a chance, as things stand, it’s Nova.

I actually don’t think Nova proved much of anything last year.  He had a nice 2nd half, but his K-rate was still <6 for the year.  He’s far proved proven that he’s an MLB starter, much less a #3.

Garcia is doomed to long relief then getting dealt, in my opinion.

If they deal Garcia before Pettitte is ready (which could well be never), they are one early season cold weather injury away from having to scramble and bring up one of the kids. Or even Fuse going back to his wayward ways, Nova proving that spring ball is meaningful and that he was lucky in the second half, or them figuring out that Pinata wasn’t all that and a bag of rally fries, particularly now that the league has seen enough of him to scout - the AL East at that !

Now we all here love us some AAA callups, but that might not be the most prudent thing to do, and in any case the question is how good that option looks to Cashman and Binder, compared to keeping Garcia around. Whereas, by July, Pettitte and/or Joba will be much more clear.

I don’t think Garcia gets moved unless and until this plays out quite a bit more.

And anyway, I think you could well see Pettitte in the pen as the first or second loogy/long relief/emergency starter and move into the rotation late in the year. They have to be thinking he’s got some inning restrictions, no ?

OTOH, Sergio Mitre is apparently still available.

[18] I think he’s proven he is an MLB starter, but he definitely has not yet proven he’s a #3.

Garcia could probably get a decent DH, if Iganez is as finished as he’s appeared.

Doesn’t Hughes have a much bigger upside (and downside) (and backside?) then Nova?
He deserves first chance to fail over Nova.

It’s not just about what’s best for the Yankees.  If they had a certain understanding when signing him and then they need to honor that.

This seems nuts to me.  I imagine the understanding they came to was that, given the options available, they could honestly tell him it seemed likely he’d start.  I doubt they told him that he would start even if it no longer seemed the best thing for the team, nor do I think it likely that he took it that way.  In fact, I hope they didn’t tell him that.

In other words, it is about what’s best for the Yankees, and it should be.

[23] The pertinent details of their understanding would be…in the contract.

So, yeah. He’s got a MLB contract, but the role is whatever the team decides.

I think the Yankees ought to do what’s best for the Yankees, unless he has an out in his deal.  Freddy could do a lot worse than pitch long relief in pinstripes and wait for a starter to get hurt.

Actual bold prediction: when Pettitte is ready in mid-May, he will replace Kuroda in the rotation.

Except you have to negotiate in good faith or you are going to screw yourself in the future. 

Freddy could do a lot worse than pitch long relief in pinstripes and wait for a starter to get hurt.

But that is still really bad for his career.  He isn’t in the same position he was this time last year.  He re-established himself as a starter last year.  That’s why he signed for $4M.  If he is stuck in the bullpen and no longer seen as a viable starter he isn’t talking about $4M-$8M in back of the rotation money anymore, hes talking about bullpen filler money.  It’s a huge deal he gets a chance to start this year and prove he is a viable starter.  If he wasn’t going to start then he wouldn’t have signed here.

I’m not a fan of screwing guys over for a marginal gain that comes from insurance policy.  Maybe the next time the Yankees are looking to sign a back of the rotation starter they can’t because the person sees what happened to Garcia and the Yankees didn’t make things right and they don’t want to be stuck in the same position.

[26] About as likely as Raul Ibanez going for 95 HR this year

[27] I think you’re blowing this out of proportion.  ANY other team in baseball would handle a pitcher like Garcia the same way the Yankees are handling Garcia.  A lot of times players don’t feel that it’s fair, or that they’ve gotten a fair shot, etc.  Garcia is veteran enough to understand this, and he’ll probably get over it in a few days.

Yankees will and should keep Garcia until at least mid-May.  They should do so in case they need him to start, also to allow the trade market to materialize, and finally because after the 15th they no longer need Garcia’s permission (re: he can’t pick his teams or demand compensation) to trade.  And if multiple injuries happen and/or Pettitte decides he can’t hack it, Garcia may be a happy #5 starter for the Yankees this year after all.

[27]
What Mike said, sd.  This *IS* negotiating in good faith.  He’s in a worse position not because they misrepresented what they intended to do with him, but because circumstances changed.  Let’s say that, instead of Pettitte coming back, Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez were somehow declared free agents and signed with NYA.  Would you think the team had dealt unfairly with Garcia?  That Garcia had been given to expect that he’d start no matter what?  That - Mike K. makes the same point - somewhere else they’d have treated him “better,” hurting to team to keep a promise they surely never made?

[22] I agree.  I think Hughes has more upside than Nova, and should be given preference as to opportunities.

Nova has one good minor league season, and one good MLB half-season on his resumes, and his peripherals have always been spotty.

Not to say he can’t be a good pitcher, but I think the odds are a lot worse than most people here seem to think.

Nova is not a lox to make the rotation.

[30] The other thing is that Garcia is likely to be that marginal 5th guy whereever he goes (a few teams excepted, of course.) If he wants to get grumpy about bouncing around on the depth chart between 5th, 6th,  7th and even 8th, he may find less job opportunities in subsequent years.

[29] My apologies, June 15th, not May.  Also, Garcia apparently has already said he’s OK pitching in the bullpen if he isn’t starting, so…

[32] Would he be if his middle name was Scotia?

Not to say he can’t be a good pitcher, but I think the odds are a lot worse than most people here seem to think.

Define “good”?  I think he’s likely to be a 2ish WAR pitcher for several years.  Is that good?  I think it is.  A lot of times people (and I don’t know if you’re doing this) would look at 2-WAR and say that isn’t good.  I think it’s plenty good.

Nova could bomb, but he could also make further progress.  I still think he has #2 upside, personally.  He’ll likely settle in as a fine #3 who puts up near-AS seasons every now and then, but he could be better.

Out of ST (in no order), best Yankees’ rotation is CC, Kuroda, Pineda, Nova, Huhges.  Both for present value and future upside.  Garcia is long-man.  Pettitte, when and if he’s ready, I feel the situation will work itself out.

“Nova has one good minor league season, and one good MLB half-season on his resumes, and his peripherals have always been spotty.”

I’d say he had one good MLB season, not half-season.  He pitched 165 innings of 3.70 ERA/4.01 FIP ball.  And there’s reason to think that his second-half stats reflect an actual improvement in his skill level.

As for the rotation generally, beyond CC, I think it’s anybody’s guess how well the other six will perform relative to one another (or WOULD perform, given the chance).  You could make the case for any of them pitching like a no. 2 (and Pineda could be an ace, assuming he’s not injured).  It’s alittle weird because the guys who, on paper, SHOULDN’T be that good (Nova and Garcia) have recent performance on their side, whereas the guys whom we think SHOULD be good either weren’t good last year (Hughes) or have yet to prove anything in the ALE (Pineda, Kuroda).  (And then there’s Andy Pettitte, who seems like a total wild card.)

Nova is a lox to strike out Tim Sockeye Salmon, because Tim Sockeye Salmon has been out of baseball a long time.

I think I’ve seen Pettitte pitch more than any other Yankee starter.

[31] Nova also clearly made a substantial and tangible improvement (although at the expense of me making my argument, I can’t find an article talking about what it was.)

The typical routine is “this guy’s history says he’s not really the guy we’re seeing, he’ll come back down to Earth.” If you use only that to develop your conclusion, your logic is flawed. Context matters.

Curtis Granderson couldn’t hit lefties, made a change, now he crushes them.

[40] I remember something about how midseason Nova’s slider improved.

[30] - You don’t think players ask what role they are being signed for?  Now if he fails in that role fine, but when he is told one thing and that completely changes before they even break camp due to nothing he did that’s different.  They don’t HAVE to trade him, but they should.  It’s the right thing to do.  For a player like Garcia and where he is in his career, getting a rotation spot is HUGE.

[34] - And the Yankees know if he really means that or if he would prefer to be traded.

[42] You don’t think players ask what role they are being signed for?

Some do, some don’t, I’d bet.  Probably depends on where each player is in their career.  And we have no - NO - idea what the Yankees told Garcia.  They could have told him, “you’re a starter, even if we trade for Halladay, Felix, and Kershaw”.  Or they could have told him, “we expect CC, Nova, and Hughes in the rotation, and we’re going to try to keep upgrading, so your role is uncertain”.

They don’t HAVE to trade him, but they should.  It’s the right thing to do.

First, we don’t know what they told him.  Second, trade him when?  Now?  Why?  If CC pulls a hamstring tomorrow, guess who’s the #5 starter?  Possibly for 6-8 weeks.  Possibly longer if CC comes back and Kuroda is hurt, or Nova needs to go to the minors, or…

For a player like Garcia and where he is in his career, getting a rotation spot is HUGE.

You could also argue it’s HUGE if he proves at this point in his career that he can be a swing-man.  There are probably a number of teams that don’t have anyone that they feel comfortable using in that role.  It could, in fact, extend his career further.

And the Yankees know if he really means that or if he would prefer to be traded.

Right.  The Yankees know.  So the Yankees and Garcia are the only ones who know what he wants, and what the Yankees’ intentions are.  So, why are you speaking authoratatively on what they should do?

[42]  In this case, Garcia may have asked what role he was being signed for, but we don’t really know what answer he received in reply, do we? They could have told him, “We have some irons in the fire and may make other pitching moves this winter, and Hughes is still in the mix as a starter, but we’re still going to need depth at the back end of the rotation because we don’t think Banuelos or Betances are going to be able to help us in 2012.  Basically, for us it comes down to bringing you back or bringing back Colon on a one-year deal, and we’d prefer to bring you back.”

And I would echo the point made by others that, just because things MIGHT not work out for Freddy in terms of a rotation spot, that doesn’t mean the Yankees screwed him.  The Yankees couldn’t assume that Pettitte would go through with his un-retirement plan, or that he’ll be able to pitch.  And I don’t think it’s reasonable for any player to expect that the GM is going to spell out for him the team’s schemes and strategies for landing other players.  Was Cashman supposed to tell Garcia that he was thinking about trying to get Pineda for Montero in a trade?  Seems like a good way to blow up a deal before it happens.

You could also argue it’s HUGE if he proves at this point in his career that he can be a swing-man.  There are probably a number of teams that don’t have anyone that they feel comfortable using in that role.  It could, in fact, extend his career further.

If he can’t start, yeah, but you can’t honestly believe he should make that transition while he can still start.

Right.  The Yankees know.  So the Yankees and Garcia are the only ones who know what he wants, and what the Yankees’ intentions are.  So, why are you speaking authoratatively on what they should do?

Because I don’t think there is a valid argument to saying his career is better off with him in the bullpen.  I know how important it is for Garcia to start this year, I’m assuming he and his agent know as well. 

I also think that if the Yankees were signing him as a long man they wouldn’t have given him $4M.  Last year they signed him to a 6/7th starter depth contract.  This contract was not that.  I know they like to over spend on bullpen arms but that’s a lot for even them. 

I’m looking at all the evidence and make a rational conclusion.  If you want to say “Who cares?  That’s Garcia’s problem” fine.  We disagree but thus in the nature of contracts.  I wouldn’t like to do business that way and I don’t like the team I’m rooting for screwing people over for a marginal gain when they could make things right.

It’s the same reason we’ll never be able to sign players that could start on other teams to be the perfect BUI.  If they can, players are better off starting.

I can well imagine the FO told Garcia they meant to acquire n pitchers that would probably be ahead of him and that they weren’t going to sign Pettitte (too lazy to check the time-ordering there), so he should be 5th or the long man depending on a fair competition.  It’s not a contractual matter, but I can see sd‘s POV.  If we’re doing thought experiments: if five pitchers better than CC had dropped into their laps, do you think making him the long man would sit well with future acquisitions?

Also part of the issue is probably how one sees the likelihood that Pettitte will not be better than Garcia but will get preference.

I would bet a large sum of money that whatever Garcia was told was conditional.

if five pitchers better than CC had dropped into their laps

Are there five such pitchers ? Alive and active, I mean. Townies don’t count.

My guess (and we’re all guessing) is that Garcia wanted to be a starter, they told him something along the lines of “You’ll get a chance to do that. We like what we saw last year. Right now it looks like 6 pitchers for 5 spots. Even when Joba comes back we don’t see him starting right away/ever, and later in the year there will also be opportunities even for the guy who ends up in the bullpen. But we’re willing to pay you somewhere between bullpen and sure thing starter money. Whaddya say ?”

I feel for what sd is saying, I just don’t agree that he’s being screwed.

I think sd is saying that Pettitte is a marginal upgrade at best over Garcia, but won’t be treated that way, and that if the team can trade him for a reasonably fair value they should, if that’s what he wants.  His fate was in his own hands and now it’s not, or so he might well think, and there’s value in the team recognizing and accommodating that.

[42] You think he was told he was being signed to be a starter not given things as they stand, but no matter what, no matter what new pitching situation arises?

Rilke, if the Yankees really signed 5 pitchers better than Sabathia, I think making Sabathia the long man wouldn’t affect FA thinking at all.
The situation is so wildly improbable that they wouldn’t think it applied to them, and they’d be right.
Moreover, if we’re going with the statement that they’re better than he is, how could anyone complain or blame them?

Why would anyone think that Freddy was assured he doesn’t have to worry about a change in the situation?  That seems crazy to me.  It happens all the time.  Why would it suddenly seem so awfully unfair in this one case with this particular pitcher?  It shouldn’t.  It’s a typical case and he’s the typical pitcher to be playing this role in the situation.

“Why would anyone think that Freddy was assured he doesn’t have to worry about a change in the situation?”

I don’t know why you think anyone thinks that.  It seems to me that Garcia is being greatly disadvantaged (entirely [and irrelevantly] understandably) due to an action by the Yankees that they may well have said wouldn’t happen, an action which might well involve some degree of plain unfairness - and that this creates an expectation that the team in consequence consider Garcia’s best interests, esp. to the extent they don’t conflict with the team’s.  You can certainly say, “Business is business”, but sd can as reasonably say, “I’d like to root for a team that treats its players well, Garcia is getting the short end of the stick here, and I’d like to see reasonable steps taken to even things out if that’s what he wants, both because of the first part and because I think it’s just good business for the team to treat veterans well”.

Why would anyone think that Freddy was assured he doesn’t have to worry about a change in the situation?  That seems crazy to me.  It happens all the time.  Why would it suddenly seem so awfully unfair in this one case with this particular pitcher?  It shouldn’t.  It’s a typical case and he’s the typical pitcher to be playing this role in the situation.

This isn’t typical at all.  The only reason this is possible is because of the Yankees money.  No other team signs a 6th or 7th starter for $4M.  The Yankees have never even done that before and I don’t think that was their intention this time.  Those players get contracts similar to Garcia and Colon last year.  If you could make $4M a year you WOULDN’T sign as a 6th or 7th starter.  Just like Peralta won’t sign as a BUI for the Yankees when he can start somewhere. 

All I’m saying I don’t think any one of us could have predicted when he signed that he would be fighting for 1 rotation spot with Hughes and Pettitte.  If the Yankees knew that was the case they wouldn’t have offered him $4M and if Garcia knew that was the case he most likely wouldn’t have signed with the Yankees.

I don’t begrudge the Yankees for making these moves, but don’t punish Garcia for them either.  Things changed in a good way.  Make them right.

due to an action by the Yankees that they may well have said wouldn’t happen

The only “action” that fits this is adding pitchers to the mix that might bump Garcia down in the depth chart.  So the “if” becomes “if they told Freddy that they weren’t going to try to improve their pitching situation in ways that might, potentially, affect his spot in the rotation.”
That seems like an extremely odd presumption.  And, in fact, it would seem to provide the obvious answer your initial question:

I don’t know why you think anyone thinks that.

I think that because you and sd have said it.  And yet that “it” seems astoundingly unlikely, especially in the complete absence of specific evidence to suggest so unlikely a situation.

I can see why he’d be disappointed.  But this is everyday stuff in baseball and I have no idea why anybody, except perhaps the baseball gods, could be seen as treating him unfairly.

[40], [41]

Lot’s of guys make improvements, are hailed as “breakthroughs” and then the league readjusts to them and they give some or all of the gain back.

LHP used to be able to get Granderson out one way, he adjusted, but they’re not going to keep doing what they were doing.

Likewise, Nova improved his slider.  But hitters are now going to be looking for that slider.  They won’t be surprised again.

There’s no way you should project Granderson to be a 900+ OPS hitter, overall, much less vs. LHP based on last year.  His best projection vs. LH is probably a normal platoon split.

Likewise, you shouldn’t project Nova to be as good as his second half.

“I think that because you and sd have said it.”

No, you’re misreading - “assured” above is doing too much.  I doubt Garcia signed (at that salary at his age after putting up a 3.6 ERA last year) in any expectation but that he’d get a fair shot at the 5th slot, if not at first. Hughes has the inside track, is pitching better in ST - fine.  Now he’s likely lost his chance at a spot later this year regardless of how well he’s pitching (relative to Pettitte) due to off-the-field considerations (well, unless he might supplant Nova).  I can see him reasonably having that expectation and evaluation, and being traded for equivalent value as something that would be conspicuously fair.

That is, Pettitte just gave the Yankees a several-million-dollar gift resulting in likely harm to Garcia, and it would be just if the Yankees took steps to give him something equivalent to a small part of the benefit they received.

Amusingly, here’s something random from BR:

Fan EloRater
Fine Details · Last Updated Mar 20, 2012, 1:15PM
All-Time Rank (among Pitchers): #199. Tim Wakefield… #200. Dave McNally… #201. Larry Corcoran… #202. FREDDY GARCIA… #203. Dutch Leonard… #204. Bruce Sutter… #205. Mariano Rivera…

How does losing out to Pettitte in the competition contradict having a fair shot?
Only if “fair shot” implies somehow that the mix isn’t going to be changed.
Yes, of course, no one denies that Pettitte’s action is not to Garcia’s advantage.  But how does that make the team’s behavior “unfair” to Garcia?

Put differently: you write:

Hughes has the inside track, is pitching better in ST

Why is THAT not unfair to Garcia?  Presumably not because Hughes isn’t allowed to pitch better, but because he was already in the mix when Garcia signed this contract.

So your issue seems to be whether signing other pitchers is unfair to Garcia.  The “assurance,” however strong or weak we make it, seems keyed to this.  It seems odd to argue that he had reason to expect that Cashman would not follow a policy - to use the words he usually uses - of doing anything that he thinks would make the team better.  Finding pitchers the team rates more highly than their current pitchers, including Garcia, would seem to satisfy that to a tee.  Why would we think that Garcia was “assured,” in any sense of the word, that this wouldn’t be pursued?

“How does losing out to Pettitte in the competition”

As noted several times above, I doubt the competition will be fair.  In the “Giants decide to trade Lincecum for Gardner” scenario - a bad deal for the Yankees judging by the last two years of bWAR - Garcia would have less of a case.  Still a bit because he’s getting harmed, and the remedy I’m suggesting isn’t of tangible detriment to the team in any case - and here it would still matter whether the team said we’re looking (or are in active negotiations that so far haven’t worked out) to get another front-line starter, likely reducing your chance to start.

You seem to think this is just one of those things that happens all the time.  When does this happen?  Who ever signs a 7th starter to $4M?  Name one pitcher who is healthy and signs a 1 year deal, at that age, for that money, after the year he just had and is the 7th SP before camp even breaks.  This isn’t even Yankees money that allows this.  They have never done this before either. 

I think what rilke fan means by “fair shot” is “If Garcia pitches the way you can reasonably expect he can pitch, then he will have a rotation spot”.  I think that was true when he signed.  I don’t think that is true now.  I don’t think either he or the Yankees anticipated this happening.

At this point everything has been said.  I think we just need to wait for someone to get a hold of Ja Rule so we can make sense of all this.

sd, why does it have to be a 5th starter?  What if they had signed a no. 1 starter and that bumped everyone down a notch, bumping the last guy out?  Is that so rare?  And is it unfair?
What if they didn’t anticipate having the opportunity to sign that no. 1 starter - is it unfair then?
If it is, then won’t it almost always be morally problematic to acquire a player (unless you knew you’d make the acquisition many years in advance)?
This isn’t great for Freddy, that’s clear enough.  And one can feel sorry for anyone to whom something bad happens, especially if it wasn’t expected.  But it’s not unusual for roster changes to affect various players’ status in the roster.  And it’s not unfair.

The only point here that even seems interesting is the notion that the competition will be skewed because Pettitte is so very Andy Pettitte.  Well, that may be true, to a certain extent.  But while I can see an argument that the team would be foolish for following that course, it isn’t dishonest - unless you make some far-fetched assumptions about what he was promised.

[62] Where is Ja??!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo-ddYhXAZc

[63] I figurd a while ago that a signed affidavit by Garcia attesting that the Yankees told him they were pursuing other starters and he would likely end up in the bullpen - before he signed - wouldn’t sway the argument.  Give up.  It’s what Jesus would do.

I figurd a while ago that a signed affidavit by Cashman attesting that the Yankees told Garcia they weren’t pursuing other starters and he would just have to beat Hughes to end up starting - before he signed - wouldn’t sway the argument.

FTFY.

[66] No, you get one of those and I’ll freely admit that they should trade Garcia because they haven’t dealt fairly with him.  But he said before Pettitte was signed that he’d be willing to pitch in the pen, he hasn’t asked for a trade that we know of, so all available evidence is that whatever the Yankees *have* told him, he’s okay with.  But I keep reading that he hasn’t been treated fairly and all these dire consequences that will befall the Yankees if he isn’t traded.  All based on assumptions of the contents of conversations that no one was privy to, and assumptions about what Garcia would rather have.

“No, you get one of those and I’ll freely admit”

Fine.  But why be a jerk and claim I won’t do the same in the opposite configuration?

[68] This wasn’t my week to be a jerk?  I thought I had reserved it…

[69] I’m pretty sure we left you out of the rotation due to not having any history of being even replacement level.

[70] touche…

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