Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Unpopular Bullpen/Rotation Decision

"Is there anybody up there in the stands that can make this decision for me?"

Last night the Yankees announced that Nathan Eovaldi will start on Wednesday, which pretty much means Adam Warren is going to the bullpen. That news also means that CC Sabathia will remain in the starting rotation.

And while that's not a surprise since 1. Sabathia is the highest paid player (not just pitcher) on the team and 2. Warren was quite successful coming as a reliever last season, it's still disappointing.

Even if he were to remain in the rotation Adam Warren is not going to get any Cy Young Award votes at the end of the season. However, his ERA of 3.59 is a heck of a lot better than Sabathia's 5.59. For those of you that are correctly pointing out that ERA is not the best stat for comparing pitchers, I'll also show you that opposing hitters are batting .238 against Warren and .294 against Sabathia.

However, it's clear to anybody that's been watching the Yankees this season that Adam Warren gives the team a better chance to win. And with the AL East turning into a four-team race, every win and loss is important.

"Yeah, those stats aren't pretty."

But before going off in the comments, keep a few things in mind...

1. You can't put all the blame on Joe Girardi here. Joe is not the one that signed Sabathia to that extension (side note... if CC hadn't opted out this would be the final year of his initial 7 year deal). Brian Cashman and Co. put this team together, and Girardi has to manage it. And managing a team, especially the New York Yankees, is more than making lineups and pitching changes. CC Sabathia is a leader in the locker room, and not long ago was the ace of the rotation. The Yankees, and their fans, are big on history.

2. I talked about this before, but it's as true now as then. Between 2013 and 2014 Warren threw 155.2 innings. So far this season he's at 82.2 innings, and at that pace would eclipse 175 this year. No way would that happen. Workload concern has become an issue, as well it should.

3. The Yankees have wanted a right-handed reliever to add to their plethora of lefties, and they have it in Warren. Perhaps that 3.59 ERA isn't as valuable in the bullpen, but having somebody else in the bullpen you can rely on is definitely a good thing.

4. Since debuting in 2001, Sabathia has never made an appearance out of the bullpen. So there's no reason to believe he would be effective in that role now. In fact, I'd go as far as to say he would be a waste of a bullpen spot. Getting ready out of the 'pen is vastly different than getting ready to start a game. Relievers will get up and throw a dozen or so pitches in the 'pen, come out and throw a few more warm-up pitches on the mound, and then go at it. And sometimes they'll do so with men already on base. The mentality of a reliever is so different that I don't think CC could do it. Especially considering he has zero experience with it.

Like the Giants did with Tim Lincecum, there may very well come a time when Sabathia relieves games more than starts them. Unfortunately that time is not now.

I can't tell if he's thinking about pitching or eating my soul.


  1. Wrong decision again,but hey look who's running the Yanks..an ELF

    1. Cashman assembled the team and handed CC the contract but Girardi put Warren in the pen, not Cashman.

    2. Burch you're smart enough to know that Cashman has input of who goes where. Please don't play that card because every GM has a say on who plays where

    3. I just don't think Cashman made this call, I don't. Did he have a say? Probably, but I don't think Cashman called Girardi and said hey Warren to the pen and Girardi said yes sir and hung up.

    4. I don't think it played out that way, I think Cashman said in his Elf voice hey we have too much money invested in CC and it will look bad that we put him in the pen and Straight can't work out of the pen as it makes me look bad on the trade so Warren is out of the rotation, plus he pitched out of there last year. This is not the right move and shows the fan that they don't care about winning, just trying to show a player who is washed up we still love you. I like CC the person but CC the pitcher is done

  2. IF THIS STAYS CLOSE....Sabathia is going to kill the Yankees season.
    3-8 now, wheel him out on a regular rotation, and it could end up being 6-16.
    Or some god awful number. The point is, this is like continuing to smoke, after you've
    been told you have cancer.

    When they finish three games behind the Orioles in October, Sabathia will be the reason.
    Have another cigarette. Enjoy life.

    1. I hate to agree patrick but I agree, he's been terrible and he (not alone mind you) has been keeping the team down in this race. This is the best decision for the team but only because CC isn't going anywhere when he should.

  3. ***Required Reading***.............
    ( Required for the likes of 'Bud-Light' Levine & Hans-el )

    'Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame Pitcher, on Nathan Eovaldi'

    "........he has a high-profile supporter in Nolan Ryan.
    “I thought he pitched a really good game, he probably has one of the better arms in baseball,’’ Ryan told George A. King III of the New York Post after Eovaldi’s start on Friday against Ryan’s Astros.
    “He knows how to pitch. The Yankees made themselves a good deal.’’ .......

    I'm old enough to remember the Mets being impatient with Ryan.
    The season of '71...Ryan pitched 152 innings, and walked 116. With an ERA of 3.97.
    The Mets hated the walks, and had enough of the young Texan. On Dec 10, 1971 they
    traded Ryan to the California Angels...for SS Jim Fregosi. Fregosi' career was almost done.

    Ryan then completes a 27 year career, with 5714 strike outs.

    I'm not insinuating Eovaldi is another Ryan. Only, that with hard throwers like Ryan, and maybe
    Eovaldi, they need a bit more time.

    *** Ryan, the following year, 1972, with the Angels :
    284 innings pitched / 19-16 / 329 strike outs. It kept getting better.

    You never know.

    1. Can you say they went to same HS and share the love there. Sorry Mulch head Pat I'm not buying what Ryan is selling

  4. It isn't a surprise to see a guy blowing a 98 mph fastball by people to have trouble, of one sort or another for a good while. Same could be said of Koufax, Ryan and our own Dellin to name a few. Other than not being very consistent with his breaking balls, he has come a long way from where he was in May. He still has the tell in his delivery for his breaking ball, but the hitter wouldn't see it because it is hidden by his shoulder.
    He could conceivably be the best pitcher we have by the end of the year IF he improves as he has times two.
    My opinion only!

    1. Dellin isn't a good comparison. Dellin struggled more with his mechanics and his control, Eovaldi doesn't really have that issue. Dellin would, and I exaggerate in order to drive home the point, strike out 15 batters while walking 10 and hitting four.

      I can't say much about Koufax or Ryan as they were a bit before my time.

    2. As bad as Dellin was they were both just as bad and I did say, "of one sort or another"! I forgot about "Bullet" Bob Turley and Ryne Duren except they really never developed into front line pitchers...they did throw very fast and inside a lot. Nobody ever dug in against Duren he had thick, very thick glasses. At the time, those two threw the hardest and fastest of just about anyone in the game.

      Just a note about Ryne Duren and his Glasses.......
      Ryne warming up on the mound would sometimes take a step toward the catcher and squint at the catcher as though he couldn't see his sign very well then he would proceed to throw the ball past the catcher, on the fly, all the way to the screen. Back then there was more than twice the distance it is now.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)