The Franchise?

By now you’ve read that our newly bespectacled non-Joba-ace-of-the-future, Phil Hughes, had an impressive outing last night in Toronto: throwing strikes over 8 innings, he allowed but 2 runs on 5 hits (1 a late dinger to Scott Rolen), with 0 walks and 6 ks. He showed slider, fastball, and curve, with a sometimes change. This, combined with a decent outing last week against Chicago, has the Yankee blogosphere re-enthused. Over on the Banter, Cliff Corcoran writes, that if he continues to locate, “he should be able to dominate the way we’ve all expected him to.” Color me hopeful, but with reservations. One solid outing with a friendly strike-zone in a meaningless game is not quite the sample to inspire confidence. A bit more problematic, as far as I’m concerned: every one of those ks came on his (admittedly wicked) curve. That’s great when that pitch is on, when the ump is calling it, and with a team that hasn’t seen him much, and can’t identify the pitch so easily (most of the ks were looking). The inability to get batters to swing and miss at his fastball (or at anything else), represents a problem. Rolen tagged one of those curves for his dinger, and that was just one of several shots to the deep reaches of the ballpark. There was much comparison of Hughes to Moose during the game, and I think that’s instructive. Moose this year was consistently able to win the intellectual battle at the plate, fooling hitters with his variety, not a single pitch. Also, Moose’s control was something exceptional. And while Hughes threw mostly strikes (again, the friendly ump was a bit of a help), there were times when he missed wildly. In all, this was an encouraging outing, but I think Cliff’s suggestion (and the suggestion elsewhere) that if Hughes can just pitch like that he’ll become an ace is wrong. The good news is he has terrific tools, and he’s so young there’s reason to believe he can put it all together. On that note, there’s some speculation as to whether the Yanks ask Moose or Pettitte back next year. I know there’s a lot of love in Yankeeland for Pettitte (not so much from me), but if it were up to me this would be an easy decision in favor of the guy with 19 wins and counting.

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  • The Yankees bet the farm, literally, this spring on Hughes and Kennedy… and it didn’t work at all.
    So, having just been eliminated from the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, I can’t believe the first thought from YFs is to revert to the identical false hope that helped lead them to this situation.
    Maybe Hughes will eventually prove helpful to the Yankees. But you’d think that maybe some different lessons would be gleaned from the 2008 experience. No?

    Hudson September 25, 2008, 12:42 pm
  • One could argue that the failure of Hughes and IPK was not the reason why the yankees missed the playoffs. I look at Wang’s injury as a much more of a factor. Id say his loss and subsequent replacement by Rasner and Ponson cost us between 3-5 Ws.
    I think the jury must still remain out on Hughes as he is still so very young and is clearly a work in progress. His health is a concern but this is often true for young pitchers. (eg. Josh Beckett) The yankees should plan for Hughes to be in the rotation for next year but build a rotation around him that can support the bumps in the road he will face during his development.
    As for IPK, Im not sure what the solution is for him. He can dominate in AAA but has nothing in the bigs. Hopefully, they will get some use out of him in the future but this will be more of a bonus than anything at this point.
    This said, I hope the Yankees will continue to build around their farm and allow these young guys to develop if possible. Just because this program didnt work this year, it doesnt mean that they should be giving up on the youth. The pitching didnt ultimately kill the yankees this year, it was the lack of offense that did them in. A few key signings and returns from injury should vastly improve this side of the ball.

    Sam-YF September 25, 2008, 12:54 pm
  • I am not sure YF presents anything that warrants a broad generalization such as yours Hudson, that this is the “first thought from YFs”, to revert to a “false hope”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: YF is only offering up hopefulness in Hughes (totally legitimate hope, at that) and a desire for the Yankees to bring back Moose over Pettitte. Where do you get that this signals a reversion to the hopes about IPK and Hughes this past spring? Where does YF articulate anything irrational or controversial?
    If I posted that I hope that the Sox stick with Buchholz despite his struggles this year and that I think he still might be a part of the rotation, would I be “reverting to false hope”, or just keeping some optimism that a blue chip pitching prospect follows through on his promise?
    I think this is some needless hostility towards YF and his brethren, certainly on this subject at hand.

    SF September 25, 2008, 1:05 pm
  • Hughes will be fine in a few. As will Clay. Kennedy has more work to do, and doesn’t have nearly the potential that the other’s do, but in the end, I think all of them have enough talent to at least approach their high billing.
    We’d all better hope so, anyhow.

    Brad September 25, 2008, 2:31 pm
  • Hank is at it again! The man is a non stop unintentional comedy machine!!!
    Cue the violin…
    “The biggest problem is the divisional setup in major league baseball. I didn’t like it in the 1970s, and I hate it now,” Steinbrenner wrote. “Baseball went to a multidivision setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement. But it isn’t fair. You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we’re not.
    “This is by no means a knock on Torre – let me make that clear-but look at the division they’re in. If L.A. were in the AL East, it wouldn’t be in the playoff discussion. The AL East is never weak.”
    “I’m happy for Joe, but you have to compare the divisions and the competition,” Steinbrenner wrote. “What if the Yankees finish the season with more wins than the Dodgers but the Dodgers make the playoffs? Does that make the Dodgers a better team? No.”
    “People will say the Cardinals were the best team because they won the World Series,” Steinbrenner wrote. “Well, no, they weren’t. They just got hot at the right time. They didn’t even belong in the playoffs. And neither does a team from the N.L. West this season.”

    LocklandSF September 25, 2008, 2:31 pm
  • Does he feel less obligated to give credit to the Yankees Wild Card into World Series title then?
    I think by now, most baseball people fully understand Hank’s schtick. He runs his mouth, does nothing, and doesn’t like Joe Torre.
    By qualifying his statement as “not a knock on Joe Torre”, that’s exactly what he’s doing. It’s like when someone says “I don’t mean to offend” right before the offend.
    I think by this point, he’s just as easily laughed at as he is ignored. We’ll see if he puts all that money where his mouth is this winter, or like us, baseball players will see a lot of talk and not a lot of action. He should just be quiet. The divisional structure is good for baseball revenue and good for fans of teams who aren’t always in contention because of what they are fiscally capable of doing. Because it isn’t good for Hank doesn’t equate to not being good for the rest of baseball, but something tells me he has a hard time seeing the two as separate entities.

    Brad September 25, 2008, 2:45 pm
  • All I can think of when I think of Hank is Spaulding Smayles.

    SF September 25, 2008, 4:12 pm
  • You killed me with Spaulding, SF, killed me.

    LocklandSF September 25, 2008, 4:49 pm
  • I think of another Spalding. You think it’s a coincidence that a day after the Yanks are pushed out of contention (read, off the back page) Hank is out with some comment, looking to get people yapping about the team again. Yeah, it’s not the most dignified way to go about it, but the crucial factor here is that all pr is good pr, and it’s better to be talked about than not talked about at all.

    YF September 25, 2008, 6:07 pm
  • go hank

    dc September 26, 2008, 9:33 am
  • i think some of you may have missed the point…your reflexes tell you to bash hank at the sound of his voice…you can’t help it…all he’s saying is that he has been getting, and will continue to get, a rash of sh– about how torre guided his dodgers to the playoffs, while his former team will stay at home for the post-season…we’ll never know how the yanks would have fared under torre this season, but there’s no reason to believe he would have been able to manage around 2, not 1, formidable opponents in their own division any more effectively than the other joe, or if he could have managed around the injuries, particularly to wang…would he have had better luck with kennedy and hughes than girardi did?…was cano’s [and even jeter’s] off year due to joe’s absence?…could he have kept matsui off the disabled list?…again, we’ll never know, but a reasonable person would doubt it…on the other hand, we can speculate about how much torre’s current team benefited from being in what is probably the weakest division in baseball, in the weaker league, and the mid-season acquisition of a manny ramirez, who appears to be reborn in LA [for now anyway], but that’s all worth a few games you would think…all hank is doing is trying to fire back at the critics who can’t get over the departure of torre, and couldn’t wait to play the “i told you so” game with him, all the while ignoring the different circumstances the dodgers and yankees found themselves in this year…i do however, agree that once again his execution and choice of words become the focus, and that tends to diminishes his point for many…

    dc September 26, 2008, 11:35 am
  • but the crucial factor here is that all pr is good pr
    Tell that to Sarah Palin.

    SF September 26, 2008, 2:19 pm
  • DC,
    Write or wrong, he still comes off as a cry baby here, there was no good way to make this point.
    Nobody is bashing him, he’s a blow hard buffoon, by his own doing. If they guy just kept his mouth shut and didn’t say stuff like this, there would be no issue.
    He’s a lot like Schilling, or Bush in that regard.
    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

    LocklandSF September 26, 2008, 3:31 pm
  • HAHA!
    Right, not write.

    LocklandSF September 26, 2008, 3:31 pm