Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Dissection Of Javier Vazquez

  • Why be blunt when you can be cryptic?

I genuinely loathe having to read between the lines, especially when the point is so blatant that it's being said without specifically being said; but in reading Tyler Kepner's analysis and opinion in today's NY Times, it's clear that Kepner is not on-board with the Yankees decision to skip Javier Vazquez's spot in the starting rotation this weekend in Boston.

Like being "a little bit pregnant", Kepner goes up to the edge of the cliff in calling out the club and stating openly that he feels the decision is a mistake, but doesn't take the last step and commit. It's obvious how he feels while hedging ever so slightly.

How about saying it?

It's not that hard. "The Yankees are making a mistake; they should start Vazquez at Fenway."

Simple. Direct. Decisive.

Don't wanna go there?


I'll go there, though. In the opposite direction.

Is Kepner a lunatic? Does he really believe that starting Javier Vazquez at Fenway Park while he's in his current mental state is a good idea? The argument that "a victory at Fenway could boost Vazquez’s shattered confidence" is so pockmarked with landmines that the risk/reward is non-existent. I don't care how pedestrian the Red Sox lineup is, you can't under any circumstances put Vazquez in that position as the club is trying to figure out a way----any way----to get some use from the pitcher this year.

Could he conceivably pitch well in Fenway? Of course.

Is it worth it to have it degenerate into another disaster and lose the guy completely for the rest of the season and place the Yankees squarely back in the position they were last season in being short in the starting rotation for the rest of the season? No way.

The armchair experts are appearing out of the shadows like rats after a nuclear disaster. Diagnosing and repairing Vazquez is turning into a get rich quick scheme in which the participants hit, run and recede back into their dingy hideouts.

I don't think anyone really knows what's wrong with Javier Vazquez except Javier Vazquez. We can guess; we can speculate; we can question, assess, examine and make suggestions; in the end the only person who's going to dictate the success or failure of Vazquez's return engagement in pinstripes is Javier Vazquez.

One thing is certain, starting him in Fenway on Friday isn't going to happen and it's the right move for the Yankees to make even with the tacit disapproval of Tyler Kepner, another "expert" with a mainstream forum and no clue what he's talking about.

  • Brian Cashman's blind spot:

The one major drawback of having a GM who's in total control of every aspect of an organization is that he has no one to check him when he's making a call that's either a clear mistake or isn't worth the downside.

Folllowing Joe Torre's departure as manager, is there anyone in the Yankee organization who's there to offer a dissenting opinion on Cashman's newfound reliance on statistics above all ancillary factors? One of the reasons that Cashman wanted Joe Girardi as manager was because Girardi was going to be all in with Cashman's stat based theory of team building.

Cashman has been so obstinate in that which he believes----Joba Chamberlain as a starter for example----that one has to wonder whether he even considered the criticisms that were levied on Vazquez----from just about everyone who's dealt with and watched the pitcher work----before bringing him back.

There's no questioning Vazquez's talent; but there are players who can't handle New York. It's only found in the stat book in retrospective and via narrative from those that were there to witness the events in question. But it's real, and there's nothing wrong with a player saying he would prefer to play in a less-pressurized environment.

Can Cashman see it? Or was he so enamored of Vazquez's durability; his innings; and his Cy Young-caliber season in 2009 that he shunned any legitimate challenge to the prospect of bringing Vazquez back?

In the present, they only surrendered Melky Cabrera to get Vazquez; no one can know what Arodys Vizcaino will be until he develops. On paper, it was worth the risk; but as have proven the repeated failures of the stat-based analysts who placed no credence nor had any concern for those issues that must be considered, it's not to be ignored as meaningless. The burgeoning disaster of Javier Vazquez as a Yankee is another example of this simple fact whether Cashman is willing to accept it or not.

Judging from his recent history, he won't accept it until he has no choice. I'm guessing that Cashman is still refusing to privately admit that he may have made a mistake in bringing Vazquez back, which should be more frightening to Yankee fans than anything else.

  • I made a mistake----once----just to see how it feels:

Like the fictional "Most Interesting Man In The World" and his Dos Equis beer (which he doesn't always drink), and one of his exploits in which he had an awkward moment just to see how it feels, I, the rightful and legitimate Prince of New York, decided----purely by choice----to make a mistake for the exact same reason.

Last night, Ryan Franklin of the Cardinals relieved Trever Miller with one out in the ninth inning of the Cardinals 6-3 win over the Phillies. He retired the last two hitters and was not credited with a save. On Twitter, it was asked why Franklin didn't get a save. I was of the belief that since the score was within 3 runs, he was supposed to get a save.


The rule (Rule 10.19) is as follows:

He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team;
He is not the winning pitcher.
He is credited with at least ⅓ of an inning pitched; and he satisfies one of the following conditions:

1.He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning.

2. He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck.

3. He pitches for at least three innings.

I'm sure I knew that at some point in my life and got confused from some brain malfunction; most likely not my fault.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

It also helps that I am the real most interesting man in the world, so I can get a pass for making one mistake. Just to see how it feels.

  • Viewer Mail 5.4.2010:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Johan Santana:

I was shocked when I read about Santana. But how many times has he given up that many runs in his career? None, right? So I'd just chalk it up to the proverbial bad day at the office. Sure, he shouldn't have walked Moyer. But now the Mets need to bounce back, end of story.

It was the worst start of his career.

And the Mets didn't bounce back although Oliver Perez pitched well.

I'd expect a virtuoso performance from Santana vs the Giants on Saturday; or serviceable; or at least better than he was on Sunday. He can't be much worse. Actually, I couldn't be much worse.

Jeff (Acting Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Santana:

That was Johan Santana? Looked more like Ollie Perez.


And Oliver Perez looked like Mike Pelfrey last night vs the Reds. No, I don't know what any of that means, but if the Mets are conducting bizarre experiments in lieu of last year's organization disguised as a M*A*S*H unit, I like what they did with Perez last night; not so much with Santana on Sunday.

Back to the drawing board? I say yes.

*On another note regarding the Family, Jeff is currently running things, but I'm hovering around as an overseer; on Monday, he'll be in full command for the foreseeable future. I grant him complete power over the whole operation.

The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger writes RE Ben Sheets and Omar Minaya:

Could you imagine if Omar had signed Sheets and/or Jason Marquis this past winter?
The villagers would be looking for Omar with pitch forks and torches. Speaking of the winter;- Did you hear about Omar's big signing - R.A. Dickey? He gave up a hit in the first inning and retired the next 27 batters in a AAA game in Buffalo last week.

I didn't want Marquis and only wanted Sheets at a reasonable price. Had they signed either----as many fans wanted them to do----it would be conveniently forgotten that the groundswell in support of either (or both!) moves was such that Minaya would've been celebrated for them...at least until they started pitching.

I wanted them to sign Joel Pineiro and I was right.

I can't get into a twist about anything R.A. Dickey does, although he could have use for them later in the season as a starter/long-reliever. Signing players like Dickey is throwing darts at the board with eyes closed and hoping to get a hit; sometimes it works.

When are you getting on Twitter, Mike? We can use you!!!

John Seal (West Coast Spiritual Advisor) writes RE Justin Duchscherer, Ben Sheets and the Athletics:

Actually, it's Duchscherer's OTHER hip that's acting up now. Considering how softly he throws anyway, we may be looking at baseball's first wheelchair pitcher.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to come up with a joke about how Ben Sheets shit the bed, but it's just not working for me. Help!

I should've looked into which hip it was. My bad. And bad for the A's if he's having an issue with the other hip! Jeez. That ain't good.

The need for jokes may force me to resurrect my "Fake Billy Beane Quotes" to adequately address the Sheets situation, even though the real quotes might be even funnier and more ludicrous.

  • The Prince on the Podcast:2010BaseballGuideCover.gif

Listen to my Podcast appearance with Sal at SportsFanBuzz from Friday----Prince on the Podcast link.

I'm almost completely unstoppable. Accept your fate. Save energy.

Also, my book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and Noble.com. It's available for download as an E-book here.

You underestimate me at your own risk.


She-Fan said...

I thought Tyler's article was very reasonable. What would be the worst thing about Vazquez pitching at Fenway? He'd lose - maybe even badly. So what? It's not the playoffs. Maybe he'd even do OK. I think it's fine that he's been skipped if it means working harder on his mechanics, but honestly I could have gone with either decision. It's only the beginning of May - too early to give up on the guy.

Jeff said...

Ah, yes. The Family. Humbled. Indeed.

RE: The Yankees/Vazquez/Kepner drama... they wouldn't be the Yankees if they weren't stirring up shit just to stir up shit, right? Even back when they were no good (the Mattingly Days) there was always some sort of drama following them around. They're the high maintenance drama queens of the game.

That being said, we need that... the game needs that. I think.