And now the Yankees wait for Andy Pettitte

12 Comments

With Hiroki Kuroda in the fold, the Yankees rotation looks like this: CC Sabathia, Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and David Phelps.  That’ll play, but they really want one more guy. And that guy is presumably mulling it over with his turkey and gravy:

The Andy Pettitte waiting game continues. Pettitte is spending Thanksgiving week with his family at their ranch, making it unlikely that the lefthander will deliver his decision on his baseball future by Thanksgiving.

It’s not that suspenseful a wait, though. For remember his comments during the ALDS when he said that he didn’t feel like a 75-inning 2012 season “scratched the itch” he had when he decided to come back early this year.  And if he does come back the Yankees are adding a guy who posted a 2.87 ERA and 69/21 K/BB ratio in those 75 innings.

It’s fashionable to hate on the Yankees after their poor ALCS performance, the Blue Jays making a big splash and all of that. But having Pettitte for a hundred more innings than they had him in 2012 will improve a Yankees team that already had baseball’s the American League’s best record.

Once again, Cy Young votes from the Tampa Bay chapter were interesting

Elsa/Getty Images
7 Comments

In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.

In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.

Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.

If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.

Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.

Upton had another tweet for the occasion: