Tag Archives: Spahn

Were the Joba rules in vain? … and a NY doo-wop legend passes away.

I had the privilege of seeing Johnny Maestro in concert twice, and met him backstage once. I have a greatest-hits album signed by him. Brooklyn-born  Johnny Mastrangello had an angelic voice. Great showman, wonderful guy. Maestro died Wednesday night at the age of 70.

Maestro began his career with the Crests, whose biggest hit came in early 1959 with 16 candles (#2 for 2 weeks). Six Nights a Week, The Angels Listened In, Step by Step and Trouble in Paradise all hit the top 40 in 1959 and 1960. The Crests were one of the first interracial acts in music history.

A regional hit was My Juanita. Maestro left the Crests, and went solo for a time, hitting the top 40 in 1961 with Model Girl and What a Surprise. Later, he hooked up with members of the Del-Satins, who had once backed up Dion. After spending a little time with them, they eventually merged with a group called the (great name) Rhythm Method. This new combined group took on a new name—The Brooklyn Bridge.

The Bridge had one major hit, 1969’s The Worst That Could Happen, which hit #3 early that year. Other minor hits included Welcome Me Love; Blessed is the Rain; Your Husband, My Wife (controversial at the time); and a version of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Now to baseball…Since Phil won the #5 spot, and Joba is bullpen bound (as the 8th inning setup guy, where some believe he should have stayed?) were the Joba Rules for naught? What about Hughes limits?

I don’t think the Joba rules were for naught at all. Nor am I concerned over limiting Hughes. You have to remember that neither has reached their 25th b/day yet, and the Yanks do want to be cautious about what can be called their two most prized young pitching prospects. After all, the Yanks have not developed a rotation mainstay since Andy Pettitte; much too long in my opinion. It’s one thing to drop a Joba back into the bullpen to dominate. We saw that with Hughes last year and hopefully Joba does that this year. It’s another to develop one as a starter. Much more difficult. Before relegating one to the bullpen, you have to see if he can be a starter first. You just have to, especially at that age. Having ten to fifteen year rotation mainstays, like a Pettitte, is a nice luxury, and protecting them so that they can BE those kind of long-time mainstays is a necessity.

Old-timers may scoff at the overprotection. They correctly point to pitchers of the past who continuously threw over 300 innings but forget some things. Yes, Warren Spahn gave 245 or more innings every year from 1947-1963. But they forget that that streak began when Spahn was 26. Spahn lost three years to WWII.

Yes, Robin Roberts tossed 300 or more innings from 1950-1955. In 1956, Roberts went 19-18, 4.45 in 297.1 IP (ERA+ just 81) at the age of 29. He really wasn’t the same again. Consider this. Roberts was 286-245 in his career. In those six years from 1950-1955, Roberts was 138-78. For the rest of his career he was 148-167. This isn’t to disparage Roberts’ HOF career. It is to say that Roberts’ HOF numbers were primarily built on SIX of the 19 seasons he pitched. Did the six seasons of tremendous overwork hurt his 1956-1966 output? Probably.

Catfish Hunter was just 29 in 1975 when he pitched 328 innings for the Yanks—after pitching 318 for the 1974 A’s. In 1976, Hunter pitched 298.2 innings, going just 17-15, 3.53. ERA+ just 98. From 1977-1979, the last three years of his career, Hunter was just 23-24. He had to retire at the age of 33. For all the talk about the olden days, Roberts and Hunter aren’t brought up, are they?

More. What about Don Drysdale? His last pitch came just after he turned 33. From 1962-1965 he tossed 300 or more innings each of those years. Mel Stottlemyre threw his last pitch at the age of 32. He tossed 250 or more innings in every single season from 1965-1973.  

I guess the question is on investment. With so much more invested salary-wise in the players today, burning out a pitcher for short-term goals vs. trying to maximize investment over the long-term is a more important issue today. It’s why I think the Joba Rules or Hughes Limitations aren’t for naught.

You hope both realize their full potential—for as long as they can—in whatever role is suited best for them.

The 25 man roster for Opening Day…not much more than a week away, hasn’t been set, but we can pretty much figure it out now.

SP- CC, AJ, Andy, Vazquez and Hughes
RP-Aceves, Park, Mitre, Robertson, Marte, Joba and Mo.
C-Posada and Cervelli.
INF-Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, A-Rod, Pena
IF/DH-Johnson
OF-Gardner, Granderson, Swisher, Winn, Thames.

The only questions I have are that I hope Posada doesn’t drop off (38 years old). He’s fighting Father Time here. Will it be one or two lefties in the bullpen? Above is only one. Will a righty be dropped for Logan or Ring to be a second lefty in the ‘pen? If so, who is dropped? It appears as if there will be just the one lefty. Lastly, Thames hasn’t done anything in spring training so far. When will he pick it up? If he doesn’t pick it up, will the Yanks look at another righty bat off the bench (no, I don’t see them going after Jermaine Dye). Could they then see what David Winfree would give them? Make a deal with the Dodgers to get Jamie Hoffmann back? I’d expect them, if Thames fails, to take a less expensive route than Jermaine Dye. I think that they would want someone who would be more apt to accept a bench role than Dye, and also someone with more speed and better defense than Dye (36) would give. 

Glavine officially retires.

MLB.com is reporting that Tom Glavine is going to officially announce his retirement and take a job with the Braves.

The HOF now beckons for the savvy lefty who won 305 games in his career, including two CYAs. His last MLB year was 2008, so he will be on the same ballot with long-time teammate Greg Maddux. How appropo that they would go in together, much like Mickey and Whitey did in 1974.

Besides his two CYAs, Glavine finished 2nd twice and 3rd twice. He was a 20 game winner on five separate occasions. His 3.54 ERA meant an ERA+ of 118.

In the postseason, Glavine was  14-16 with a 3.30 ERA. He was the MVP of the 1995 WS.

The only lefties to win more games than Glavine were Warren Spahn (363), Steve Carlton (329) and Eddie Plank (326). Glavine (305) wound up with two more wins than Randy Johnson (303), who just retired but who, having played in 2009, goes on the ballot one year after Maddux (the living pitcher with the most wins, 355) and Glavine, and two years after Roger Clemens (354*). Of course, we know the trouble Clemens will have once he gets on.

As a hitter, Glavine hit .186 with 1 HR.  He won four silver sluggers for pitchers.

The active pitcher (and active lefty) with the most career wins as of now is Jamie Moyer with 258. #2 in both categories is Andy Pettitte with 229.

 

Nomo and Towers? …and it looks like He Said, He Said.

3 p.m. It was nice to see a decent, competitive Orange Bowl last night. Mark Mangino reminds me of Rick Majerus in that if he would have went on the old TV show “What’s My Line”, no one would guess that he coaches physically fit athletes (not that I have an athlete’s build myself).

Hideo Nomo? Dave Pinto of Baseball Musings states that the Royals have signed Nomo to a minor league contract. Talk about a head-scratcher. Besides the fact that Nomo is 39, let’s look at what he’s done recently. Out of the majors in 2007. His 2006? out of the majors then too. 2005? 5-8, 7.24 (ERA+ 60) for Tampa Bay; 2004? 4-11, 8.24 for the Dodgers (ERA+ 50). Can you imagine the backlash in N.Y. if the Yanks or Mets would have made this signing?

5:15 p.m. The Rockies have signed pitcher Josh Towers. Towers will be 31 in December, and based on his last two years with Toronto, I would think that he will be kissing that humidor every time he pitches in Colorado. He was 5-10, 5.38 in 2007 (ERA+ 83) and an awful 2-10, 8.42 (ERA+ 53) in 2006. His career stats are 45-55, 4.96 (ERA+ 91).

So what have we seen lately? Reclamation projects like Prior and Clement signed, a 39-year-old pitcher who hasn’t pitched in the majors in two years and whose final two years were a combined 9-19, 7.75 (or thereabouts) signed to a minor-league deal, and another pitcher signed whose last two years have seen 7-20, 6.50. Think about that and then think of what Cashman has been trying to do with the young arms on the pitching staff.

In the comments to this previous post, I respond with what would happen in CF if the Santana deal went through. I discuss Corey Patterson and Mike Cameron, albeit Cameron in the terms of the Twins. Cameron, you may remember, is suspended for the first 25 games of 2008 due to abuse of the amphetamine policy. Well, according to Tyler Kepner of the Times, A-Rod has been endorsing Cameron (I thought he was getting close with Cano and Melky and “mentoring” them?). A-Rod and Cameron were teammates on the 2000 Mariner team that lost to the Yanks in the ALCS. Kepner’s article also discusses the “retirement” of George Steinbrenner and the differences between Hank and Hal (Hal being more financially prudent). Kepner also wisely reminds his readers that the Yanks are spending an extra 40 cents to the dollar for each dollar they spend because they are over the luxury tax limit—which could be problematic in signing another high-priced player, even for the Yankees. A $100 million free agent is $140 million to the Yanks—$40 million going toward the tax. For Kepner’s complete article, go here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/04/sports/baseball/04yankees.html?_r=1&ref=baseball&oref=slogin

6:30 p.m. Oops. I was checking out MLB Trade Rumors to compare their hits and misses as far as where they thought certain free agents would wind up. I noticed something. They accurately pointed out that with 27 more wins that Greg Maddux would pass Christy Mathewson for 3rd all-time (behind Cy Young and Walter Johnson). What they didn’t mention is that in so doing he wouldn’t only pass Mathewson, but also Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander. Alexander, like Mathewson, wound up with 373 wins.

Maddux currently has 347 wins and is 7 behind Roger Clemens. With 17 more wins, he would pass Warren Spahn and become the winningest pitcher of all pitchers who pitched after 1930 (1930 was Alexander’s final season).

He said, he said. MLB.com reports that Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee have been asked to testify before the House Oversight Committee at a Jan. 16 hearing. Hmm, both under oath. Things are getting verrrrrrry innnnnteresting as Arte Johnson used to say on “Laugh-In.” Put it this way, as long as Congress concentrates on this, they won’t have the time to screw anything else up.

Cantu did indeed sign with the Marlins.

7:30 p.m. Now ESPN reports that Radomski, Pettitte and Knoblauch are asked to testify as well. Isn’t Pettitte’s admission enough? As for Knoblauch, why? The guy is retired, and if you want Andy and Knobby, why not just call everybody named in the report? Why do I have Judy Collins’ “Send In the Clowns” echoing in my brain right now?

Update, 11:30 p.m. Saw this elsewhere and Googled to see if accurate and it appears it is.

Andy Phillips signs a minor league deal with the Reds. AP will be 31 next year and hit .292-2-25 in 185 at bats last year for the Yanks (OPS+ 88). He has 479 ABs (roughly a full year) for his career and is .253-11-60 (OPS+ 76).

http://nationalpost.pa-sportsticker.com/default.aspx?s=mlb-news-display&nid=A14203871199486752A

Matt DeSalvo has signed a deal with the Braves. DeSalvo is 27 and cracked the majors in 2007. In 7 games (6 starts) he went 1-3, 6.18. (ERA + 72).

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/