Updated Pitching Comparison

Paul did most of the heavy lifting already. I'm here to cross out a name and add a new one. Here's where we stand in the NY-Boston arms race:

Boston Red Sox
  1. Jon Lester — 134
  2. Josh Beckett — 124
  3. John Lackey — 124
  4. Daisuke Matsuzaka — 112
  5. Clay Buchholz — 95*
  6. Tim Wakefield — 105  

New York Yankees

  1. CC Sabathia — 139
  2. Javier Vazquez — 125 
  3. A.J. Burnett — 108 
  4. Andy Pettitte — 103
  5. Joba Chamberlain — 100*  
  6. Phil Hughes — 85*

* Career total as a starter **Based on 2006-08 numbers

In recent years, the Yankee pitchers have been more durable. It's unclear if that means they'll give more innings next season. In any case, I say this one is too close to call. How about you?

43 comments… add one

  • I still like our guys better. :-)
    But this is a very solid pickup for the Yankees. I’ve never been sold on Melky though, so I’m sure that colors my perception. I think the Yanks sold high on him, which is the smart thing to do.
    Of course, in the interests of our previous Lackey deconstructions, is now the appropriate place to mention that 102 ERA+ in the American League, 4.91 ERA as a Yankee? ;-)

    Paul SF December 22, 2009, 3:05 pm
  • We should go back and visit the thread when they traded him away last time…

    Brad December 22, 2009, 3:16 pm
  • The original deal was strange. It was first going to be a three-way trade, then the Dodgers dropped out so it was just the Yanks and Dbacks with Johnson coming in return.
    YF said,
    Vazquez, just a year ago, was to be the centerpiece of a newer, younger rotation. He had a crappy year, but he’s young and healthy and puts up innings. There’s a huge potential upside there. And of course the Unit is 41 and makes gobs of money, and now the Yanks are extending that contract for even more gobs of money. They also lose the heir apparent to Posada, the bluest chip in their minor league system. But let’s face it, they can afford to go out and buy a new catcher when the time comes.
    Posts about the original Vasquez-for-Johnson trade can be found here:
    http://www.yfsf.org/2004/12/laughingstocks.html
    http://www.yfsf.org/2004/12/survey_says.html
    http://www.yfsf.org/2004/12/out_of_his_leag.html
    I thought this post was interesting, given the various Drew debates:
    http://www.yfsf.org/2004/12/satisfy_the_bas.html

    Paul SF December 22, 2009, 4:03 pm
  • Yikes, I can’t ever remember SF being so livid, bitter, and full of vitriol. What happened between then and now?
    For anyone who says this site is currently biased towards the Red Sox, consider how it was back then. SF wouldn’t get away nearly so easy had he made these types of posts nowadays.
    Let’s all remember that out of anything, the thing we require most to accurately judge moves and non-moves is PERSPECTIVE.

    AndrewYF December 22, 2009, 4:19 pm
  • I was just thinking that. I too was a ‘bit more “inspired” back then with my comments. One of the best, most hair raising threads on this site was when the Red Sox were on the supposed verge of getting Johan Santana. I think we had to close two threads in a row because we were so back and forth with each other.
    Those 2003 and 04 threads were very, very Sox heavy.

    Brad December 22, 2009, 4:22 pm
  • Even if Vazquez’s ERA went up a full run, he’d still be the second best pitcher on this staff. His K/9 and WHIP are very impressive and he’s a horse. Trading for him wasn’t going to win us (the Yankees) the title of Best Rotation in December, but it’s solid. Second highest WAR in the NL last season means something fellas. I like it more and more as the day goes on. As for the best rotation in December, you guys can have it, no fight there! On Paper, you guys have the higher ceiling, but I do think the Yankees rotation has a better shot at being solid if that makes sense.
    Side note, this has to mean the end of Joba as a starter. Hughes is the more refined pitcher and should be the #5. Joba can go back to being a very good set up guy and train for the closers role when Mo hangs up his spikes. Keep Gaudin, trade Mitre and there’s your insurance in case someone goes down. Now if only we can sign a LF I’d feel a whole lot better.

    John - YF December 22, 2009, 4:55 pm
  • Not even this necessarily means ‘the end’ of Joba as a starter. I think it’s very silly to make definitive statements like that.

    AndrewYF December 22, 2009, 5:00 pm
  • I am sorry I didn’t realize I was the voice of the New York Yankees. I was speaking in my opinion, not for anyone else. I meant in theory when I said “Has to Mean”, not like THIS HAS TO MEAN THE END OR ELSE!
    Joba is not the pitcher that Hughes is. He’s a kid who throws hard and has a very good secondary pitch. The problem is his approach, his pitch selection, his stamina, etc…Hughes is more refined, he has a better shot to be an average to above average starter long term than Joba does right now based on what I saw last season. Go back and check the archives, I have never been a Joba to the Pen NOW kind of guy, but in my opinion, unless Joba drastically changes his approach to hitters in the off season, Hughes should be the #5. All along I said keep Joba in the rotation as long as you need him, well the need is gone and there’s a gaping hole in the setup spot. Time to fill it with a proven commodity. That’s my opinion, not necessarily that of the New York Yankees.

    John - YF December 22, 2009, 5:15 pm
  • The Yankees have in their rotation, in order of ability:
    CC
    AJ
    Vazquez
    Pettitte
    Hughes
    Joba
    Gaudin
    Mitre
    Gaudin is the guy I want to keep and based on his salary the guy most likely to be more difficult to move. So let’s say the Yankees keep him and move Mitre (Hey Omar!!! Heck they just signed RA Dickey today…) That still gives them 7 starting pitchers and Alfredo Aceves. The top 5 would win out obviously, with 2 of those players and Aceves back to the pen. They would join Robertson, Mo, Boone Logan, Mark Melancon, Edwar, Albaladejo. Regardless of what you think of Melancon and Robertson, I don’t think anyone wants to go into the season with either as the set up man to the best closer in the history of the sport. That’s not to say they can’t eventually fill that role, it’s just not your best option for 2010.
    Here’s how it would look if I was the manager and it was Opening Day:
    Closer: Mo
    Set-up: Joba
    RH’s: Robertson, Aceves, Melancon/Albaladejo
    LH’s: Boone Logan and Marte
    Longman/Spot Starter: Gaudin
    That’s a pretty impressive bullpen in theory. It gives Girardi more options that last year with 2 lefties and security with Gaudin in case someone breaks down or implodes.
    That to me is the strongest set up, as this team is currently constructed.

    John - YF December 22, 2009, 5:27 pm
  • I really don’t know what to make of Vasquez. He had the best year of his career at 32, after a season at league average. After improving each of his first four years in the game, his ERA+ totals are perfectly an every-other-year phenomenon:
    69-89-119-130-108-139-92-100-98-126-98-143.
    How do you project a 33-year-old Cy Young candidate who has one good season in the AL and has exhibited zero year-to-year consistency since 2001 — but who has posted two stellar seasons (including the lone AL campaign in question) in the past three years?
    He actually reminds me of Beckett, who has exhibited a similar off-year tendency:
    98-138-108-118-95-145-115-122.
    The difference is you can cut two years of the swing out — 2006 and 2007 — and get the pitcher Beckett has been the past two seasons: 138-108-118-115-122. It’s harder to do that with Vasquez. Cut out his 2003/04 swing, and you get this:
    119-130-108-100-98-126-98-143. That’s not much help, is it?

    Paul SF December 22, 2009, 5:57 pm
  • From Eric Seidman, back in May:
    http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8872
    “Over the last ten seasons, only two pitchers have been durable enough to reach 2,000 or more innings thrown—an average of 200 IP per year—while simultaneously posting a strikeout rate north of 8.0 and an unintentional walk rate under 2.5.”
    This personifies what Vazquez is: an innings eater with a rubber arm who strikes out a ton of batters, and doesn’t give out many free passes.
    There’s a lot – a lot – to like with Vazquez. He’s a very valuable pitcher, and I personally hope the Yankees try to extend him.
    To me, he was the one ‘guy who got away’ that the team would have unequivocally been better off not trading. I’m pretty sure Cashman felt the same way, after being ordered by ownership and executives to trade for Randy Johnson.

    AndrewYF December 22, 2009, 6:12 pm
  • “…Yikes, I can’t ever remember SF being so livid, bitter, and full of vitriol. What happened between then and now?…”
    to be fair andrew, i guess more than just sf used a lively style in posting and commenting back in those days, including me, though i can’t remember just how far back i made my first entry…anyway, for perspective on sf’s style back then, the sox were just coming off their first win in 86 years…most of the sox fans i knew spent the next year or so blowing off steam and gloating…they earned that right…after the second win in ’07 many of them toned it down a bit with a more “been there, done that” [i hate that cliche] attitude…again, fair enough…what’s really calmed them down is the yankees winning this year…back to reality ;) …the 2 things they can still hang their hanging sox caps on are the 2 still fresh wins in this century [depending on how you celebrate centennials the yankees have either 2 or 1] and the yankees spending binges, which are apparently unfair and ruining the sport…the mods here have been diligent in trying to keep the discourse civil, and most of us have done our best to follow suit…brad and i are perfect examples…we used to try to beat the stuffing out of each other, but now he’s probably one of the sf’s i’d most like to sit down and have a beer with…we’re human, we love baseball, we’re passionate to a fault about our favorite teams, but mostly this is a better place to be than it was when i first started…some of it was my fault, but some of it was an irresistable urge to respond to posts like the ones referenced above…it’s all good…now

    dc December 23, 2009, 11:02 am
  • “That’s not much help, is it?”
    4th starter dude…christ.

    krueg December 23, 2009, 11:43 am
  • krueg, I think Paul meant it wasn’t much help in projecting what Vazquez will do next season, not that Javy won’t be much help for the Yanks.

    Nick-YF December 23, 2009, 11:57 am
  • tell him krueg…that’s why they play the games…javy’s meltdown with us just happened to be in one of those “big games”…perhaps the biggest in sox post season history…oh well it happens to the best…even mo has a blown save or 2 or more in big games…even beckett’s post season legend took a punch or 2 in the last 2 post seasons…i’ll take my chances with javy this time around, not just because i have to [cashman doesn't run this stuff by me, i don't know why], but because i don’t think we’ll be setting the same expectations [#4 v. ace] for him… he’s probably more mature and he’ll be surrounded by a better supporting cast…

    dc December 23, 2009, 12:00 pm
  • “…krueg, I think Paul meant it wasn’t much help in projecting what Vazquez will do next season, not that Javy won’t be much help for the Yanks….”
    can’t speak for krueg, but i knew what paul meant…the guy’s been up and down so projecting him is difficult…it would appear that he’s scheduled for a “down” year, but we’ll have to see…even his down years haven’t been that bad, for a 4th starter…pretty much you’ll get 200 innings, almost that many strikeouts, and not many walks…i’ll take that from a #4…if i’m a little concerned it’s about how his homer totals will translate to that little bandbox in the bronx…when that wind tunnel starts churning, look out!

    dc December 23, 2009, 12:23 pm
  • I know what people mean when they call Javy a 4th starter but statistically he’s basically the 2nd best starter on the team. On most teams he would be an ace or a #2. It’s an amazing luxury that us Yanks fans (and Sox fans) have to be able to refer to him as a #4.

    Nick-YF December 23, 2009, 12:41 pm
  • brad and i are perfect examples…we used to try to beat the stuffing out of each other, but now he’s probably one of the sf’s i’d most like to sit down and have a beer with…
    As I would you, dc. A nice 22oz Samuel Adams Boston Lager!
    Nick and I used to go back and forth pretty good too, but since, I think we’ve both kind of put things in perspective here. In reality, we all argue over what’s better – diamonds or diamonds. We’re all very lucky to hold fandom to what we do.
    Merry Christmas.
    PS – your payroll is out of freaking control:)

    Brad December 23, 2009, 1:13 pm
  • “…A nice 22oz Samuel Adams Boston Lager!…”
    ;)
    damn, i knew we could agree on something…i’d buy, but cashman called and i need to lend him some cash to complete the ’10 roster…he was a little embarrassed to go back to hal, again, after all the budget talk and stuff…
    what’s cool is that as a group we keep each other honest…much better than some of the alternative sites, where it’s just a bunch of morons spewing crap…
    merry christmas to you too my friend…

    dc December 23, 2009, 1:35 pm
  • “nice 22oz Samuel Adams Boston Lager!”
    This is true actually: I can’t stand Sam Adams beer. Awful! :)

    Nick-YF December 23, 2009, 1:40 pm
  • So what would be considered a “good year” for JV in our #4 slot. Seems to me the guy is consistant in terms of innings per season and ERA:
    (Of course I don’t delve into the super-stats, you know the ones that say Jeter sucks? I’ll just stick with good old fashioned ERA)
    He’s averaged 212 innings and an ERA of 4.10 since he left the Bronx. Having an ERA of 4 equates to having a 3 on a mortal team, but with our offense? And this is from our 4th starter? I fail to see how this move isn’t completely solid. All the guy has to do is eat innings, I mean, we won games with MEE-tre and Gaudin pitching, is JV not WAY better than those two? Really?
    Didn’t Paul piss all over AJ and CC last year too? They worked out pretty well…

    krueg December 23, 2009, 2:14 pm
  • “nice 22oz Samuel Adams Boston Lager!”
    This is true actually: I can’t stand Sam Adams beer. Awful! :)
    Um, hello? BOSTON lager… ;)

    krueg December 23, 2009, 2:15 pm
  • Sam Adams could make a New York Yanks beer and I’d avoid it. Truly awful brewery.

    Nick-YF December 23, 2009, 2:18 pm
  • Nick, you have officially lost your mind. Sam Summer might be the best thing I’ve ever put to my lips that wasn’t connected to a pair of legs.
    Serioulsy, man. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like a good Summer Ale.
    Regardless, I hope you have a wonderful Holiday wherever in the world you are right now. You travel around more than any other internet friend I have – from Washington Heights (remember when?) to SF to all over the darn place!
    Merry Christmas, and everyone be safe in your travels – I’m off for the weekend now.

    Brad December 23, 2009, 2:55 pm
  • Happy holidays Brad! I’m in Yonkers visiting my family. Back from hot Jakarta to freezing this!

    Nick-YF December 23, 2009, 2:57 pm
  • He’s averaged 212 innings and an ERA of 4.10 since he left the Bronx. Having an ERA of 4 equates to having a 3 on a mortal team, but with our offense?
    I think the best way to look at this is like this:
    What is valued more – a 4th outfielder, or a 4th starter? I think in the overall scheme of things, this was (as I said) a good move. I just don’t think it makes that much of a difference to have JV. He’ll give you what he’s alwasys given the AL, and not much more, and that’s all they need him to do.

    Brad December 23, 2009, 2:59 pm
  • Krueg, you need to dial the sensitivity down a notch.

    Paul SF December 23, 2009, 2:59 pm
  • “Nick, you have officially lost your mind. Sam Summer might be the best thing I’ve ever put to my lips that wasn’t connected to a pair of legs.”
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…have to give you props for that one!!! ;)

    krueg December 23, 2009, 3:04 pm
  • “Krueg, you need to dial the sensitivity down a notch.”
    Huh??? Is my point not valid or something? I disagree with just about everything you say, but this time I actually looked up stats?
    I’m sorry, I forgot you are always right and above reproach.

    krueg December 23, 2009, 3:07 pm
  • I think the best way to look at this is like this:
    What is valued more – a 4th outfielder, or a 4th starter? I think in the overall scheme of things, this was (as I said) a good move. I just don’t think it makes that much of a difference to have JV. He’ll give you what he’s alwasys given the AL, and not much more, and that’s all they need him to do.
    Well, yeah but I think my point is as far as #4 starters goes, JV is money and certainly better than what we had. Now, with the bad 4th/5th slots in our rotation, we still won the WS. So, it stands to reason that with JV filling in for Hughes/Joba/Gaudin/Mee-tre/etc. that our rotation is obviously and markedly better. Only one spot, #5 really up in the air at all…
    Am I missing something?

    krueg December 23, 2009, 3:10 pm
  • How about a rundown of the left field options? I don’t understand why Mark Derosa’s name is being thrown out so much.

    DustyDrB December 23, 2009, 4:34 pm
  • I’m not referring to your point. I’m referring to your misinterpretation of what I wrote, which you then followed up with pointless antagonism. It’s the perfect example of why I no longer engage you in discussions of any substance on this site.

    Paul SF December 23, 2009, 5:44 pm
  • “Am I missing something?”
    You aren’t Krueg. Many things can be debated and legitimate points and counterpoints can be made. Fact is that barring injury (which is the same caveat for every player) Javier Vazquez is a very solid pick up as a #3 starter and a superlative one as a #4. By superlative I mean you would be hard-pressed to find a better #4 starter.
    The Yankees now have in CC, AJ, and JV 3 legit strikeout pitchers. Going into 2010 theirs will be the only starting rotation to feature 3 starters who ranked in the top 15 in total Ks last year.
    And theirs will also be the only rotation to feature 3 starters who ranked in the top 25 league-wide in eating innings last year. might that portend break-downs in 2010? I don’t know. I know people have been saying that about CC for a long time and that JV has consistently eaten more than 200 IP a season. Eating those innings has an up-and-down effect on the rest of the rotation and bullpen as a guy like Hughes will have a fresher bullpen behind him and the Yanks should have a pretty legit shot at going directly to the Joba-bridge to Mariano in 3/5s of their games.
    Has Vazquez been better in the NL than AL? Of course. What pitcher with experience in both leagues hasn’t? Last year he faced the best team in the NL (Phil) more than any other single team. The Phillies had a line-up every bit as good as any AL line-up with the exception of NYY, Boston, and arguably LAA, and he fared pretty well against them: he went 2-1 in 5 games giving up a total of only 11 runs, yielding a .207 BAA, 11.0 K/B; and .267 OBP with a 3.00 ERA. Small sample? Yes. But relevant to the whole “discount anything that happend in the NL” meme? Yes.
    Put into the context of the Yankees wanting to win now while their core four are still effective and yet limit the long-term deals they give out this year so as to free them up for next year’s much more attractive free agent crop and this deal – together with all the others Cash has made – makes me feel like they not only outperformed all others in-season, but also so far in the off-season.
    And yes, I know the off-season isn’t over, but given that we’re doing December on-paper comparisons and all…
    More importantly: happy holidays and New Year all.

    IronHorse (YF) December 23, 2009, 5:44 pm
  • Guys, Paul wasn’t saying Javy Vazquez won’t help the Yankees, in fact in the FIRST COMMENT he wrote “But this is a very solid pickup for the Yankees.” It seems really obvious, as Nick picked up, that Paul was referring to Vazquez’ numbers being too erratic to help predict this coming year. Honestly, it seems like even when there is nothing to argue over some people want to create a battle. Paul wrote nothing antagonistic in this thread prior to being attacked, an attack based on a clear misread. He did nothing at all warranting any followup acidity. Nothing. NOTHING.
    Stop this crap already.

    SF December 23, 2009, 8:27 pm
  • SF, I’m not sure who you are referring to in the plural but I think only Krueg is in a push and pull with Paul. My note above addresed Krueg’s response to Brad. And even Brad was saying this is a good move by the Yanks but not a great move – it just fills a need. My argument was/is that the move is better than that since it fills a #4 need with a guy who I think is – on paper – as good as any #4 in the league.
    As for Krueg, I think he misunderstood a comment Paul made and then reacted to it in a way that caused Paul to ask him to tone it down and say that he doesn’t engage Krueg substantively as a general rule.
    It’s not a great interaction and I second the sentiment that Krueg’s reaction was unwarranted as it was based on a misunderstanding (one that both Nick and dc pointed out). But I respectfully don’t think there is more to it than that.

    IronHorse (YF) December 23, 2009, 10:28 pm
  • Happy Holidays! We just need our outfield to be one member stronger.

    walein December 24, 2009, 2:17 am
  • Plural just used stylistically, IH, not meant to implicate an entire group. I do think that the reflexive attack on Paul, based on a clear misreading and then stubbornly not backed off of, is still somewhat indicative of how too many of us deal with this site, and I wish it would stop. There are still too many assumptions made about intent in posts and comments that react from such assumption, when the words of the original comment or thread, if considered, mean something quite different. At the very least, I would appeal to everyone to at least ask an original poster or commenter about their intent if they have a confusion or a negative reaction, particularly if the wording of that post might seem ambiguous.

    SF December 24, 2009, 6:46 am
  • “…There are still too many assumptions made about intent in posts and comments that react from such assumption, when the words of the original comment or thread, if considered, mean something quite different. …”
    amen, i’ve been guilty of this offense more than once…you suggest a good way to handle a potential misunderstanding to diffuse it before it goes bad…if it’s not a misunderstanding, then off come the gloves and we go nuts ;) …on the other hand, wouldn’t it be cool if we could all do this in person some day?…you and yf can buy the beer…
    merry christmas to all my friends at yfsf, even you sf, paul, hudson, rod, ath, zzzzzz ;)
    seriously, everybody be safe, enjoy your loved ones, and get ready to deal with me again in a few days…

    dc December 24, 2009, 8:05 am
  • dc, like Gerry Adams, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat, you get the YFSF Nobel Prize for militant-turned-peacemaker. I am impressed.
    Now if we could only encourage Hudson along a similar path. ;o)
    SF, I understand and agree – I mainly wanted to ensure that neither you nor Paul thought I was in attack mode on him. My one contribution above was not even tangentially directed at his commentary or the running back and forth between him and Krueg, much of which I hadn’t even read when I wrote what I did over the course of a couple hours in between conference calls and meetings!
    Happy 2010 all – may it bring many happy things to all of you – including a repeat WS championship to the YFs among us :o)

    IronHorse (YF) December 24, 2009, 9:12 am
  • Understood guys. I misread the post. I was wrong. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Go Yankees.

    krueg December 24, 2009, 10:11 am
  • Go Yankees.
    You are SO biased!!!
    Happy holidays everyone!!

    SF December 24, 2009, 11:05 am
  • deleted. just let that go. — ag

    SoxFan25 December 25, 2009, 5:33 am
  • Francessa reporting that Bay has signed with…wait for it….
    the mets.
    Good luck with that, Jason. Moron.

    Brad December 29, 2009, 2:31 pm

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