Saturday, May 29, 2010

You Have All These Rules And You Think They'll Save You

  • The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules...

Well, it appears that Yankees GM Brian Cashman is at it again with...The...Hughes....Rules...





Led by GM Brian Cashman, the Yankees are implementing more "rules" with another young pitcher----Phil Hughes----ostensibly to "protect" him and the club's investment; and are simultaneously shoving them down manager Joe Girardi's and pitching coach Dave Eiland's throats.

Details of the floating series of rules which no one can define and have worked so well with Joba Chamberlain are available in this ESPN New York Story by Andrew Marchand.

Here are the relevant clips:

The Yankees have the guidelines for a plan that could give Hughes nearly two weeks of extra days off from now until July 20. The days off would be spread out over the next six weeks and would not be nearly as noticeable as the ones that were implemented for Joba Chamberlain last season.

Girardi and Eiland will make their decisions based on how many innings -- especially high-stress innings -- and pitches that Hughes has thrown thus far.

They are very hesitant to speak about the plans, because they don't want the Hughes Rules to draw the same fanfare as the Joba Rules.

"That is all up to Joe and Dave," GM Brian Cashman said. "They know just like last year with Joba what the limits are."


To quote Mr. Spock in logician's tone and unsaid bewilderment, "Fascinating".

You'll notice a slight alteration in the way the rules are being defined (as much as such stupidity can be defined while trying to "protect" the unprotectable; the inexplicable nature of an individual's arm; his variation of motion; and his future.

Eiland and Girardi (and presumably Cashman) are paying close attention to the newest phraseology "innings and high-stress innings" that are being used by the Rangers and Nolan Ryan as they alter the "delicate flower" approach to pitchers that has come into vogue and are instead choosing to do something novel----let them pitch----from the minor league system on up. (I discussed this in my my podcast appearance on Thursday.)

So first it was a simple limitation of innings/pitches based on history and the injury rates of pitchers whose innings have been radically increased too quickly; now, they're incorporating some nuance into the equation.

I see.

What's next in the mad scientist la-bor-a-tory of Cashman as he waits for the lightning strike to bring to life his vision of a Stat Zombie monster of world domination, ably assisted by his personal Igor, Girardi?

I especially love the way Cashman is being so condescending with the implied and unsaid threat while giving tactical freedom to his manager and pitching coach to get the job done however they see fit...but "you're in trouble if he gets hurt".

No one has any idea whether this is the "best" way to develop young pitchers, but the Yankees have become so immersed in this culture that they're going down with the ship one way or the other. It's somewhat embarrassing to the point of anger-inducing to see someone with Joe Girardi's baseball experience and intelligence (the guy went to Northwestern) treated like a child who can't be relied upon to handle his players with caution and care.

It again comes down to the blame game and the necessity to have a partnership of trust between a GM and his manager. If Cashman truly believes Girardi is the man for the job, then he should give him the room to handle the players as he sees fit without the edicts coming down from the front office.

Said edicts are markedly different in tone and haphazardness from the missives that George Steinbrenner used to toss out as a way of instilling fear in his employees. Cashman is in charge now; everyone knows it. It's his baby and he's getting the credit and the blame with no one else at whom to point as a way of deflecting said responsibility. So why is it necessary to emasculate his manager and pitching coach to justify how pitchers are being limited and deployed?

I have my feelings on the pitch counts and babying that is prevalent in baseball today and I've gone on about it repeatedly; if clubs want to place limits on their pitchers, it's fine; they're the ones who are paying them; they're the ones who have to deal with the consequences; but is the parsing necessary to compartmentalize who's at fault when something goes wrong? No.

In fact, it can be detrimental to the respect given----inside and outside the clubhouse----to good baseball people like Girardi and Eiland and it's not right in practice or in theory.

  • Viewer Mail 5.29.2010:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Shin-Soo Choo:

Choo always kills the Yankees ...sort of like Jason Bay. Not looking forward to facing him this weekend in the Bronx.

The Indians are atrocious. You have nothing to worry about. The Indians are throwing Justin Masterson today which should mean some crooked numbers on the board; Mitch Talbot's pitching tomorrow and he's been quite good; if the Indians get a game, it'll be tomorrow.

Then again, "you just can't predict baseball!"

But I do better than most.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Dan Haren and my podcast appearance:

I like the Haren in St. Louis idea. In fact, I love it.

The podcast was great. I wanna hear one where Sal lets you go off.

The money could be an issue with Haren to the Cardinals.

I need to mention that I haven't heard anyone suggest that Haren could be had in a trade; it's my suggestion that teams (the Mets) start calling Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes and lay the groundwork for a possible deal. The Diamondbacks are spinning into the sea and have few options aside from riding it out or starting a rebuild.

They'd get a lot for Haren. And I'd give it to them if I were an interested team.

Sal does a great job and he lets me go while keeping me within a framework of sanity. Speaking of spiraling, that would happen if I started truly teeing off. I need some parameters from people I respect. Everyone else? Watch out.

As mentioned, I was a guest with Sal at SportsFan Buzz on Thursday and it's----I'm not gonna mince words----awesome destruction. Listen here or download or do something. Just2010BaseballGuideCover.gif listen. Immediately.

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.

No one's gonna tell you nothin'. They're wise to your act. You got rules. Me? I got no rules. No one's gonna cross me for you.


She-Fan said...

The problem I have with the Cashman-Girardi partnership is the disconnect that has developed regarding injuries. One says one thing; the other another. It's hard to know what's going on sometimes.

Jennifer said...

I played softball throughout high school and college and I play in a league now(granted, I own my position at 3b). Call me dumb, but I never once heard the term "high stress inning" until now. What exactly makes an inning high stress? To me, the term sounds incredibly subjective which means some stat zombie will come up with a nice little equation to determine a high stress inning.

Additionally, if you're brought to a team to pitch and the team places a pitch count on you (but then how does one develop experience?!), that's one thing; what Cashman is doing is essentially washing his hands of a Hughes implosion and is preemptively hanging Girardi and Eiland out to dry.

Jeff said...

The Hughes rules? Seriously?

Didn't they learn ANYTHING?

For being the winningest franchise in the history of sports, the Yankees sure do know how to make asses of themselves in the media. Jesus christ...

Brooklyn Trolley Blogger said...

Billy Connors must be somewhere in Tampa laughing his head off.