Sunday, June 20, 2004

Halsey: The Aftermath 

Brad Halsey did an admiral-bull (worst pun ever) job in his major league debut yesterday afternoon, hiding his nerves behind a calm exterior and holding the Dodgers to just two runs in 5 2/3 innings. His final line:

5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 108 pitches, 65 percent for strikes.

The pitch count is a bit high, but the percentage of strikes is right on target and, with the exception of a fluke home run by Hideo Nomo (just the fourth of his major league career), everything else neatly echoed his level of performance in Columbus.

It's generally true that when a hitter and a pitcher who have never opposed one another face off the pitcher has the advantage. Indeed, after after working out of trouble in the first (just one run scoring on a groundout after the Dodgers got men on second and third one out), Halsey didn't allow another baserunner (Miguel Cairo's tween-the-wickets error being the exception) until his second time through the Dodger order. That said, I think the Dodger hitters' unfamiliarity with Halsey was balanced out to some degree by Halsey's nerves, and that we could expect him to perform similarly against this team should he face them a second time (which, of course, he won't--at least not as a Yankee).

Ah yes, "at least not as a Yankee." It is widely believed that Halsey is going to be this year's Branden Claussen, a young lefty who is brought up midseason to make an emergency start during interleague play, impresses fans and scouts alike, and is dealt at the deadline for the Yankees' missing piece. The similarities are actually frightening. Claussen also allowed two runs and one homer and walked just one in his start against the rival Mets, though he gave up three more hits and struck out two more while recording two more outs. Claussen was 24, Halsey is 23. The big difference is that, whereas last year the Yankees needed an extra bat, this year their biggest need is . . . left-handed pitching. Having just dealt Gabe White (who unofficially came over in the Claussen trade) back to the Reds, the Yankees could make great use of Halsey as a lefty out of the pen and emergency starter for Kevin Brown's trips to the DL and Contreras's trips to the funny farm.

To listen to the rumor mill, as voiced by Joe Buck during yesterday's FOX broadcast (and by the way, if Vin Scully is still working, why are we forced to listen to Tim McCarver? Shouldn't the Game of the Week be a showcase for, not only the best game, but the best broadcasters?), Freddy Garcia is the guy the Yankees most likely to get for Halsey. A few quick points about Garcia: He's 28, a little over a month older than Javier Vazquez; He's shown flashes of brilliance during his career (I saw him lose a brilliant 1-0 pitchers duel against Andy Pettitte at Safeco back in his rookie year of 1999); Although his home road splits make him look like a product of his home park this year, over the past three years he's pitched as well or better on the road; He's durable and gets his share of strikeouts; He's right handed. That is to say, Freddy Garcia would be a solid addition to the middle of the rotation. At the same time, so might Halsey.

Further down the rumor mill, Shawn Bernard reports that Robinson Cano has been moved from second to third with the Trenton Thunder in order to showcase him at the position for an unidentified team. Certainly the Mariners could use some help at third in the near future (they've gone from David Bell to Jeff Cirillo to Scott Spezio, with Willie Bloomquest on the bench), but the biggest bell that third base rings is the Royals, who have said they want a third baseman and a catcher (Dioner Navarro also plays for the Thunder) for Carlos Beltran.

I don't know enough about Cano and Navarro, but I do know that Navarro's pacing along quite appropriately to serve as Jorge's replacement once Posada's contract runs out, and that Beltran will not sign an extension with whatever team he is traded to, preferring to test the market with his agent, the devil himself, Scott Boras. Those two things combined make me think it would be extremely foolish for the Yankees to go after Beltran now, when they will have a decent shot at signing him during the offseason without having to give up what's left of their farm system to do it. Of course, I said that about Javy Vazquez this past offseason and have since eaten my words. The again, the Yankee pitching staff without Vazquez would be a mess, whereas the Yankee offense without Beltran will get along just fine, thank you.

But enough of this rumor bunk, the Yankees have a rubber game to play tonight. Yanks vs. Dodgers, con dos latinos locos (Lima y Contreras). Should be a lot of fun.

posted by Cliff at 12:36 PM

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter