Yankees to push back Chamberlain's next start

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As part of the grand plan to keep Joba Chamberlain’s arm from falling off, the Yankees are pushing his next start back by a day or two, instead inserting Chad Gaudin into the rotation for a start this weekend against the Mariners.  The Daily News’ Tim Smith thinks this is silly:

Leave him alone and let him pitch his regular turn, and stop talking about this top-secret plan that was devised, developed and instituted by GM Brian Cashman and Girardi. Enough already.

I’m all for being careful with young arms — and though he seems like he’s been around a long time, Joba is still young — but one wonders whether this treatment isn’t having some unanticipated side effects.  Pitchers are creatures of habit, and based on his quotes in the articles, Chamberlain is always the last to know when he’s pitching.  Jorge Posada, who knows a thing or two about pitchers by now, says “It’s tough with what he’s been going through. He doesn’t know when he’s going to pitch, so it’s tough to mentally put it all together. He’s doing everything he can to stay focused, but it’s tough.”

And though I’m venturing a bit out of my bailiwick with this, I wonder if it’s possible that extra rest does Joba some harm, albeit small harm. Perhaps he feels almost too strong when he pitches on extra rest and thus (a) overthrows; and/or (b) doesn’t feel as pressing a need to be efficient and conserve energy?

Worth thinking about. And, hey, given the lead the Yankees have right now, there’s room to experiment a bit.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.