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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yankees think about sending Joba Chamberlain to the minor leagues

Here’s the keys…take the Nova.

Things haven’t been easy for Joba Chamberlain since he returned to the majors, but the reliever might not have to worry about that soon.

With CC Sabathia due back from the disabled list on Friday, the Yankees will have to make a roster move to open a spot for their returning ace. According to a source, the team is considering a demotion for Chamberlain, who has struggled badly in his seven appearances.

Chamberlain has minor-league options left, so the Yankees could send him down for 10 days to let him work out the kinks, then bring him back when the minor-league season ends and big-league rosters expand in September.

Chamberlain has struggled mightily since coming back from Tommy John surgery and a right ankle dislocation, posting a 9.35 ERA in seven appearances. Chamberlain has given up 15 hits and four walks — two intentional — in 62/3 innings, striking out four.

Repoz Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:16 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Panned Handle Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4214596)
I actually think he's done well for a middling reliever.
   2. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4214612)
I like this plan. I'm increasingly convinced the Yankees rushed him back to the Major Leagues. (Not health wise, just ready-to-face MLB hitters wise.)
   3. DKDC Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4214625)
As long as he's back in the majors for the Orioles series Labor Day weekend, I have no issues with them sending him down.
   4. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4214661)
Don't think, ####### do it.
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4214683)
I actually think he's done


I thought your sentence was going to stop there.

Five years ago, Chamberlain and Hughes were 1 and 1A, with Kennedy bringing up the rear. The Yankees handled Chamberlain bizarrely and he broke. They handled Hughes well and he has underwhelmed. They underrated Kennedy (he had a rocky stint in the majors in 2008 and made a remark that didn't sit well with them), traded him, and he's done well.

I agreed with the ranking of these three pitchers five years ago, while thinking that Kennedy was still being very underrated. If I were to rank these pitchers today, as they stand now, I'd take Kennedy first, Hughes second, and Chamberlain third. I still think that Chamberlain can rebound, but at this point he's no longer a entity you can value much if you are an organization.

And Hughes's career is starting to remind me a lot of Aaron Sele's, actually.

The Kennedy trade continues to be very interesting:

December 8, 2009: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the New York Yankees to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Detroit Tigers sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees. The Detroit Tigers sent Edwin Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The New York Yankees sent Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Detroit Tigers. The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to the Detroit Tigers.


So, essentially, we have the following. WAR numbers in parentheses are since the trade. It's a bit complex to unpack since Edwin Jackson was flipped by the Diamondbacks in 2010 for Hudson and Holmberg (still in the minors) (I've combined their WAR below), but I think we have:

Yankees give Kennedy (9), AJackson (14), and Coke (1); receive Granderson (12). Net result: Minus 12.

Diamondbacks give Scherzer (6) and Schlereth (0); receive EJackson (0+4+Holmberg) and Kennedy (9). Net result: Plus 7 and they have Holmberg in the minors.

Tigers give Granderson (12), EJackson (0+4+Holmberg); receive AJackson (14), Scherzer (6), Coke (1), and Schlereth (0). Net result: Plus 5, but no longer have Holmberg.

---

Of course, I haven't evaluated salaries/contract situations above, which is an integral part. But just going by WAR, the Diamondbacks made out the best, followed by the Tigers.

The Yankees got hosed, actually, giving up two good young players at reduced salaries (Kennedy and Austin Jackson) for an older, more expensive player (Granderson). People don't realize this because Granderson has played well and people seem to have forgotten that Austin Jackson was included in the Kennedy deal.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4214703)
Interesting. Transaction Oracle liked the trade for the Yanks, didn't like it for the D-Backs, and was indifferent for the Tigers. Primates seemed to concur with this opinion. (levski freaked out).
   7. Every Inge Counts Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4214712)
The Tigers did the trade as a sort of salary dump as well. They had some bad contracts on the roster and they had move the two guys who were actually worth anything in a trade. They got back a great return.
   8. JJ1986 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4214715)
Plus 5, but no longer have Holmberg.


Holmberg (and Hudson) came from the White Sox. I don't think they would have made the same trade with a division rival.
   9. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4214722)
5. To say the Yankees were hosed is a bit strong. For instance, last season, Austin Jackson had a .690 .OPS. While Jackson has been terrific in 2012, it would have been very hard for the Yankees' to absorb those growing pains in 2011, especially while A-Rod was injured and another big producer needed to step up. Granderson was that guy. He has helped ease A-Rod's decline and injury problems these past two seasons. Hughes is pretty damn inconsistent right now, but his strikeout to walk ratio indicates a pitcher who is close to being quite effective.
   10. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4214723)
The Yankees handled Chamberlain bizarrely and he broke.


If by "handled Chamberlain bizarrely and he broke" you mean to say "watched him fall awkwardly on his pitching arm dodging an errant throw to second from Pudge Rodriguez, damaging his shoulder in a way that he never fully recovered from and led the Yankees to alter his pitching motion to lessen the strain on the shoulder and noticeably diminished his stuff, which led to the Yankees ditering about his role, partially from peformance issues as a starter and partially about minimizing recurrent risk to his pitching shoulder" then, yes ...
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4214729)
If by "handled Chamberlain bizarrely and he broke" you mean to say "watched him fall awkwardly on his pitching arm dodging an errant throw to second from Pudge Rodriguez, damaging his shoulder in a way that he never fully recovered from and noticeably diminished his stuff, leading the Yankees to dither about his role, partially from peformance issues as a starter and partially about minimizing recurrent risk to his pitching shoulder" then, yes ...


No, I don't mean that. I mean "handled him bizarrely and he broke." That's why I said it.

I don't mean what you said. The above, while presented by you as fact that IRod's throw caused Chamberlain's injury, is largely unsupported. Including by Chamberlain's own statements after the game. Chamberlain said after the game that he was hurting in the inning before IRod's throw, and he never said that IRod's throw hurt his shoulder. And he stayed in the game after IRod's throw.

The Yankees screwed with Chamberlain, moving him from reliever to starter to reliever, etc., and putting bizarre pitch and role and usage limitations on him. For some reason the myth has sprung up around here recently that IRod's throw caused him to be injured and caused the Yankees to handle him bizarrely.
   12. Dale Sams Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4214758)
Joba: "At least I finally plunked Youuuuuuuuukkkkkkk" (as Joba plunges into hell.)
   13. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4214768)
The Yankee staff is pretty thin right now. They don't have much of a bullpen past Robertson/Soriano. They were counting on Joba to provide depth and instead he's just provided mass.

The rotation is in trouble too. Nova is just awful since he tried raising his K rate by throwing fastballs over the middle of the plate all the time. Hughes is erratic. Sweaty Freddy is who we thought he was. Are they going to go CC-Kuroda-Phelps in the playoffs? Hughes as the three guy and Phelps as the four? They can't really afford to pitch Nova in a short series with the way he is pitching.

Is Pettitte ever coming back? I haven't heard about him in ages.
   14. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4214781)
Fabulous Andy P is returning soon, hopefully.
   15. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4214786)
I had no idea Joba was even still with the Yankees.
   16. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4214811)
The word on Pettitte is that he needs to be throwing from a mound--not in a game, just off a mound--by September 1st in order to build himself enough to pitch in the playoffs. Cashman has also said, I believe, that they aren't putting him on the playoff roster unless he's thrown 100 pitches in a game. It's going to be close.

EDIT: Which reminds me, I remember telling CP at the start of the year that I thought Phelps would end up pitching more innings for the Yankees than Pettitte. Up until late June, that looked pretty foolish but I may yet turn out correct.
   17. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4214819)
5. To say the Yankees were hosed is a bit strong. For instance, last season, Austin Jackson had a .690 .OPS. While Jackson has been terrific in 2012, it would have been very hard for the Yankees' to absorb those growing pains in 2011,


I don't know; if WAR's defensive numbers are to be believed (and I always take them with a very large grain of salt), Jackson, even with that .690 OPS, has been as good as or better than Granderson on the field since the trade. If we cut down Jackson's defense, he's still been a better value. Granted the Yankees don't care as much about money - they'd probably rather have the performance - but when it's considered that the Yankees gave up Kennedy also, and that Kennedy and Jackson are both younger and cheaper, it becomes really hard to view this trade as a good one for the Yankees in retrospect.

Was it viewed as a good one at the time? I don't recall what I thought of it. I know I liked Kennedy a lot. I also thought Granderson was a platoon player, and he's been much better than that. I forget how much Jackson was valued as a prospect; my memory is that he was thought of as someone with potential but overrated as well.

   18. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4214824)
I searched my email and found this statement I wrote to a friend on the day of the trade:

I do think there's an outside chance that Ian Kennedy turns into a poor man's Mike Mussina.
   19. bigglou115 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4214825)
I had no idea Joba was even still with the Yankees.


I feel like this is the sentiment to anybody who isn't either a Yankees fan or a fan of a team in the AL East who closely monitors the Yankees for competition purposes. The fact is that Joba is over as a national news item. Prospects come up and flame out all the time. The majority of baseball fans in the country couldn't care less what the Braves intend to do with Tommy Hanson, and even Braves fans, while disappointed, understand that "hey, it happens." Its interesting that there's this visceral need of a significant part of Yankees fandom to keep this guy relevant.
   20. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4214831)
I do think there's an outside chance that Ian Kennedy turns into a poor man's Mike Mussina.
Like year he was as good as Mussina was, before and since he's really been the homeless man's Mike Mussina. Of course, I once picked Ian Kennedy to win a Rookie of the Year award, so what do I know?
   21. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4214866)
Yeah, I had not noticed that Joba has come back from the gruesome trampoline mishap. And I spent quite a while looking at their roster recently to figure out how unprecedented they are in terms of how old their players are.

Most people don't bother to grade the Yankees in terms of how well they do in their trades. There's all the public perceptions that Ian Kennedy would never have been able to pitch in THE BIG CITY, Austin Jackson would never have gotten a chance to play in THE BIG CITY, Curtis Granderson is a guy who plays THE YANKEE WAY, etc. Several unquantifiable variables are apparenttly involved.
   22. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4214893)
Most people don't bother to grade the Yankees in terms of how well they do in their trades. There's all the public perceptions that Ian Kennedy would never have been able to pitch in THE BIG CITY, Austin Jackson would never have gotten a chance to play in THE BIG CITY, Curtis Granderson is a guy who plays THE YANKEE WAY, etc. Several unquantifiable variables are apparenttly involved.


I agree with this completely. The "thought process" is that Kennedy could never have pitched in New York, so essentially he was worthless to the Yankees and so the trade cannot be evaluated using purely objective factors.

AJ Burnett could never have pitched this well in New York (never mind that he already did, in 2009), so of course it's silly to imagine that he might have been useful to them this year. Etc etc etc.

(Incidentally, Burnett seems to have his wild pitch problem under control this year. Not sure if that was Yankee catching or something else.)
   23. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4214908)
And I spent quite a while looking at their roster recently to figure out how unprecedented they are in terms of how old their players are.


You could have asked Cliff Lee.
   24. Dan Szymborski Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4214914)
AJ Burnett could never have pitched this well in New York (never mind that he already did, in 2009), so of course it's silly to imagine that he might have been useful to them this year. Etc etc etc.

Or the time-released inability of Kenny Rogers to pitch in New York in 1997 after having a fairly typical Kenny Rogers season in 1996 in New York.
   25. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4214953)
This, I feel, is the hardest segment of the trade to justify. Jackson took a big step forward last year and unlike the ERA improvement from 2007 to 2008, this drop in ERA was matched by improvement in his peripheral stats. That being said, Arizona only has Jackson under control for two seasons and don't look to be major players for any elite free agents. In Arizona's position, I simply rather have the extremely promising Scherzer.



It's ironic you wrote this, yet your own projection system produced

2010 ZiPS Projections
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Player W L G GS IP H ER HR BB SO ERA ERA+
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Jackson 13 10 34 34 203.2 198 92 24 80 153 4.07 117
Scherzer 9 5 29 26 143.2 135 63 15 60 138 3.95 115

Zips sees what you missed. That Jackson has been pitching against the toughest lineups in major league baseball, while Scherzer has pitched against some of the weakest. And that Max simply isn't a starter, he can't get into the 6th inning regularly when the opposing lineup contains a pitcher, what is he going to do when it contains a DH? He's going to struggle even more, and throw even fewer innings per start. And that Jackson is going to cruise through the easier lineups in the NL West.

Mike Emeigh, you can say the same for Edwin Jackson. He doesn't have great command of his fastball, and he's only has a career 6.3 K/9 rate. Combine that with his BB/9 rate of 4.0 and you have to wonder what the D'backs see in Jackson that they didn't in Scherzer.


They see that he is maturing as a pitcher, that his BB rate has plummeted the last 4 years while he faced the toughest lineups around, and unlike Scherzer, he's a real starter who can get into the 7th inning regularly. They also see that he doesn't have all the injury red flags that Scherzer has.


Of course, Scherzer hasn't gotten hurt, has pitched a decent amount of innings, and by FanGraphs WAR all 3 pitchers have been pretty equal in value (Kennedy 9.6, Scherzer 9.4, Jackson 9.2). Of course, Jackson was more expensive ($13M/2 years) but still a great value, Scherzer was cheap ($5m/3 years), and Kennedy was hella cheap ($1.3M/3 years).

I was high on the trade from the Diamondbacks perspective because they were turning one starter with big upside and big question marks into a strong likelihood of two solid cheap starters, and given how valuable and expensive solid MLB starters are, that looked to be a huge win. While Scherzer didn't implode, he also didn't realize the top of his potential, he just got a bit better against tougher competition. And this trade directly led to the Diamondbacks surprise NL West Championship in 2011 when DiPoto flipped Jackson to get Daniel Hudson and Hudson/Kennedy anchored the rotation for Kevin Tower's contract extending miracle season.

Yankee's fans were quick to be blinded to how good Kennedy was because he had disappointed them, and when the trade was made they were also eager to believe their team won it. Kennedy was a "finesse pitcher" coming off an injury, who could get minor leaguers out, but had proved he couldn't handle big league hitters and pressure of NY, at best "back of the rotation" potential.

A "finesse pitcher" who throws up to 93 MPH, K'd 10 batters every 9 in the minors, and still Ks 8 per 9 in the majors. An "injury" that wasn't high risk, not arm or tendon/ligament related, and a "failure" under the bright lights in NY over only 39 innings at age 23. A "back of the rotation" guy who has been a top 30 starter the last 3 years, i.e. a #1 or #2 starter in value.
   26. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4214959)
(Incidentally, Burnett seems to have his wild pitch problem under control this year. Not sure if that was Yankee catching or something else.)
Must've been something else, AJ was in the Top 5 in Wild Pitches three times before he ever got to NY, including leading the NL in 2002. He's gotten it under control to some degree before (He had 5 in 165 IP in Toronto in '07) but it seems to come back.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4214963)
Most people don't bother to grade the Yankees in terms of how well they do in their trades. There's all the public perceptions that Ian Kennedy would never have been able to pitch in THE BIG CITY, Austin Jackson would never have gotten a chance to play in THE BIG CITY, Curtis Granderson is a guy who plays THE YANKEE WAY, etc. Several unquantifiable variables are apparenttly involved.


While I agree with the idea that it's silly to suggest that xxx can't play in New York, it's equally wrong to assume that Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Curtis Granderson would have simply done what they're doing had they not found new digs. Different opportunities, coaching, work environments, etc., all play a role in how these guys develop. I mean, we regularly bash organizations for mishandling the development of players, so why should we assume that any of these three guys would have developed the same in a different situation.

I look at this trade and I don't see anybody getting hosed. I see three teams that made a reasonable deal and each got better production from the players they received then they probably expected. That's a ####### A trade.

   28. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4214986)
I do think there's an outside chance that Ian Kennedy turns into a poor man's Mike Mussina.


Ages 25-27 Innings/ERA+/fWAR
Mussina 641/127/14.3
Kennedy 573/117/9.6

Kennedy isn't done with the year, he probably finishes the 3 year period with 625 innings, an ERA+ of 115, and 10.2 fWAR. Not as good as the under-rated Mussina for sure, but still pretty nice.
   29. tjm1 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4215017)
Grading trades by WAR is probably not the best way to evaluate what the Yankees are looking for in trades. The Yankees will trade any number of 1-2 WAR/yr players to get a star. Barring really extreme cases, what the Yankees want is to get the best player in the trade, even if they give up 2-3 guys almost as good. They can generally just go out and sign an average player any time they want to. The money doesn't really matter much to them.

Also, I don't put too much stock in "team leader" type stuff, but Granderson, at least by reputation, is about as solid a citizen as there is in major league baseball right now. There clearly isn't a player of that personality type on the Yankees younger than Jeter.

The Tigers won the trade, pretty clearly, but there are plenty of reasons the Yankees (and any other high payroll team) will knowingly give away WAR in a trade.
   30. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4215037)
I look at this trade and I don't see anybody getting hosed. I see three teams that made a reasonable deal and each got better production from the players they received then they probably expected. That's a ####### A trade.


What if the Tigers had said, "F the DBacks", cut them out of the trade, we'll keep Edwin Jackson and take Kennedy?

In 2010-2011, Scherzer threw 390 innings with an ERA+ of 105.

In 2010-2011, Jackson threw 409 innings with an ERA+ of 101, and Kennedy threw 416 innings with an ERA+ of 125.

In 2010 the Tigers started Bonderman (171 innings/76 ERA+), Porcello (162 innings/85 ERA+), as well as Willis (43 innings/85 ERA) and Oliver (22 innings/58 ERA+). The Tigers finished 81-81, with their staff ranked 11th out of 14 AL teams.

In 2011 the Tigers started Porcello (182 innings, 87 ERA+) and Penny (181 innings, 78 ERA+, $3M). The Tigers finished 95-67 with their staff ranked 8th out of 14. The Tigers lost both of Porcello's post season starts, including his only start in the AL Championship, at home, which put the Tigers down 3-2 in the series, and he also put the cap on the 3rd inning meltdown in the finale that Scherzer and Schlereth (the other trade recipient) started.

Not trying to pick on Porcello, he pitched okay overall in the playoffs, but one wonders if the Tigers had a deeper starting staff to choose from (and that would have thrown more innings and kept the bullpen fresher at seasons end), what could have happened?

Hmm....
   31. rconn23 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4215079)
"AJ Burnett could never have pitched this well in New York (never mind that he already did, in 2009), so of course it's silly to imagine that he might have been useful to them this year. Etc etc etc."

Whatever the reason for Burnett sucking in New York, the fact is that did. I don't care if it was the pressure of pitching in NY, his cap was on too tight, etc. Other than 2009,in which he was just OK, he performed terribly the other years of that contract. The Yankees gave him every chance to succeed. How is it their fault that he flamed out? hgoes to Pittsburgh and pitches in a the JV league, and now he's a superstar. Shocking.

And I'm sure if you put Phil Hughes in the NL or in a cavernous ballpark like Seattle, he would magically turn into a better pitcher as well.



   32. Dale Sams Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4215175)
Are they going to go CC-Kuroda-Phelps in the playoffs


No, because the White Sox are going to beat you in the one game playoff.
   33. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:50 PM (#4215332)
Whatever the reason for Burnett sucking in New York, the fact is that did. I don't care if it was the pressure of pitching in NY, his cap was on too tight, etc. Other than 2009,in which he was just OK, he performed terribly the other years of that contract. The Yankees gave him every chance to succeed. How is it their fault that he flamed out? hgoes to Pittsburgh and pitches in a the JV league, and now he's a superstar. Shocking.


AJ Burnett K/9 BB/9 HR/9 Age
TOR 9.0, 3.3, 1.0 29-31
NYY 7.9, 4.0, 1.2 32-24
PIT 7.9, 2.9, 1.0 35

Looks to me like he had results that shouldn't be wildy atypical for an aging pitcher moving to a HR happy park, and then back out again.
   34. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:39 PM (#4215404)
The Yankees screwed with Chamberlain, moving him from reliever to starter to reliever, etc., and putting bizarre pitch and role and usage limitations on him. For some reason the myth has sprung up around here recently that IRod's throw caused him to be injured and caused the Yankees to handle him bizarrely.


Actually, the myth is that the Yankees screwed with Chamberlain. They had a plan to work him into their starting rotation without pitching him too much too soon. The plan worked almost perfectly -- he was one of the most effective starting pitchers in MLB in August of 2008 and right on track to pitch the number of innings they had targeted for him that season. Then he got hurt. And then what did they do the following season? Why, they put him in the rotation and let him start 31 games. Yep, them sure is some bizzare pitch and role and usage limitations right there. No, the truly bizarre thing is that So many people ignore the 2008 injury and assign all the blame for the rest of Chamberlain's checkered career on how the Yankees' "mishandled" him.

Your assertion that they somehow handled Hughes well is equally unsupported by facts. They just got a little luckier with him (but not much). Probably has something to do with the fact that, unlike Chamberlain, he didn't already have an elbow issue when they drafted him.
   35. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4215412)
Actually, the myth is that the Yankees screwed with Chamberlain. They had a plan to work him into their starting rotation without pitching him too much too soon. The plan worked almost perfectly -- he was one of the most effective starting pitchers in MLB in August of 2008 and right on track to pitch the number of innings they had targeted for him that season. Then he got hurt. And then what did they do the following season?


In 2007 he started, then he relieved. In 2008 he relieved, then he started, then he relieved. In 2009, he started.

In August and September of 2009 they made him a 3-inning starter.

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