April 25, 2007

INSTANT GRATIFICATION:

Are Yanks Wrong To Push Hughes in the Deep End? (TIM MARCHMAN, April 25, 2007, NY Sun)

Tomorrow night, two months before his 21st birthday, Phil Hughes will take the mound at Yankee Stadium as the best pitching prospect in baseball, and the best New York has seen since Dwight Gooden. In better circumstances, he might have pitched in the minor leagues for a few more months, apprenticed in the Yankees bullpen for a time, and then taken a rotation spot either later in the summer or next year. As things have turned, he will bear not only the immense pressure of his reputation, but the burden of having to restore order to a Yankees rotation that has, due to injuries and failures, gone from a strength to a liability in three weeks.

In several ways, the Yankees are compromising their own interests by turning to Hughes under these conditions. That doesn't mean that promoting Hughes right now will prove to be a mistake — he may, right now, be their best pitcher. But it's at best a curious way to protect one of the game's more valuable assets.

The main problem is that the Yankees have two mutually opposed interests right now. The first, and I think clearly the most important, is ensuring that Hughes is put in the best possible situation for his long-term development. The second is winning. This creates a variety of conflicts. There is no doubt that in an ideal world Hughes would spend a few months testing himself against experienced hitters at Triple-A and that his first major league games would be of little or no consequence. Whether or not one agrees, one can understand why the Yankees would put a higher priority on not falling deep into a hole by the end of April than on creating the ideal environment for the development of a young pitcher, but one can't ignore the costs of doing so.

Somewhat less obviously, these opposing interests cause conflicts that will either lead to the Yankees getting far less out of Hughes than he has to offer, thus making his call up essentially irrelevant, or to them putting his career and potential at risk in exchange for a fix to a temporary and easily solved problem.


It's a risk that badly managed teams run. But when management knows it's on the way out the door it runs things badly.

MORE:
Crawford Slam Sends Yankees To Last Place (Associated Press, April 25, 2007)

Alex Rodriguez's 23-game hitting streak is over. The Yankees can't say the same about a slide that's dropped them into last place.

Tampa Bay pitching cooled off ARod, and Carl Crawford hit his first career grand slam rallied the Devil Rays over Chien-Ming Wang and the Yankees 6–4 last night, extending the Yankees' losing streak to five games.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 25, 2007 11:38 AM
Comments

Can you even write this stuff with a straight face?

The Yanks are so poorly run they've won what 10? 11? div titles in a row, w/ no sign of that ending given the overall weakness of their competitors.

Not to mention that you were calling for the Yanks to promote Hughes several times earlier this year.

Meanwhile:

Here's BA's Jim Callis on Hughes:

"I think he's here to stay. As I've said several times, I would have had him up to stay last September, providing some bullpen help at that point."

And in response to a question of whether this was the Yanks' panicking, he responded:

"Not at all. He has a great arm, better than anyone they have. He’s ready."

He showed up to Spring training last season with, according to Giambi the best stuff of anyone there. That was over a year ago, and that was before a season when Moose and Wang were among the top 5 starters in the American League. Hughes might stumble a bit to begin, but by September he, Moose, and Wang will give the Yanks the best top 3 of any rotation in the AL, and by then we'll be strolling to division title number whatever in a row.

Meanwhile, Theo still gave up a quality starting pitcher and a rookie of the year ss for Josh Beckett.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 25, 2007 2:37 PM

Gene Michael put together the core of the Championship team, which is why they haven't won this Century.

Posted by: oj at April 25, 2007 5:05 PM
« EV...: | Main | BUT WHAT IF WE DON'T SHARE IN YOUR SELF-LOATHING?: »