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Yankees plan to piggyback starters during postseason

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Tom Verducci of SI spoke with Yankees manager Aaron Boone about his playoff pitching plans:

“We’re going to be a little untraditional,” manager Aaron Boone said. “The only one we might use as a traditional starter is [James] Paxton.”

By traditional, Boone means a starting pitcher who goes as deep as he can into a game. Otherwise, New York is prepared to script each game with piggyback starters and six key relievers. That doesn’t make the Yankees vulnerable. It makes them smart.

We live in the age of The Opener and Bullpenning™ so this is not necessarily novel, but it is novel for the Yankees. At least in the postseason. Due to injuries and ineffectiveness of multiple starters they’ve been doing a whole heck of a lot of bullpenning in the second half and it’s worked out for them pretty well. The key to that is that Boone has been pretty good of not overworking everyone. Which, to be fair, is pretty easy to do when you have a massive lead in the standings and your offense is able to carry you.

The postseason is a difference beast, of course. Whereas in August or early September Boone can afford to leave Aroldis Chapman on the bench as the opposition threatens in the ninth in order to save his arm, you can’t really do that in October. Yes, there are off days for travel, but the higher-leverage of each and every postseason out makes it more likely that the relievers will be ridden harder. Having six of them, and multiple starters who can go on shorter rest due to shorter outings can work, but all it takes is one disaster game — and in the mega juiced ball postseasons we’ve seen the past couple of years, there are a lot of them — to mess up such plans. If that happens, Boone’s ability to improvise will be tested.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.