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Yankees Musings: Some random thoughts on Joba, Kuroda, Cabral, Rivera

Some random thoughts on Joba, Kuroda, Cabral, and Mo after last night's crushing loss to the Blue Jays.

Tom Szczerbowski

If Tuesday's loss wasn't the back-breaker for the Yankees, Thursday's loss certainly was. At 80-73, the Yankees are 3.5 back of the second wild card and have to jump four teams just to get there. Not to mention, there are only nine games left and even if they do grab the final wild card, they'll be playing on the road against a team that's better than them. Anyway, here are some thoughts following last night's debacle:

Yeah, the Yankees' offense has been ice-cold since last Friday against the Red Sox, and although they were trailing at the time and were unlikely to (and never did) erase a 3-1 deficit, using Joba Chamberlain in the seventh was a foolish, foolish decision. The Yankees could have used anyone else in that bullpen to pitch in that spot. Shawn Kelley, David Phelps, Matt Daley, Adam Warren, Preston Claiborne, anyone. Well, maybe not Claiborne. He's been horrid, even worse than Joba since the middle of June, but you get the point. We know Joba won't get DFA'd or whatever, but with only nine more days left in the season, this clown will be out of here soon enough.

Hiroki Kuroda was okay last night. Six innings, three runs counts for a "quality start," I suppose, but from watching his outing, it sure didn't look very quality-like. Unfortunately, this is nothing new of late. He has gotten killed since the middle of August, and, at 39 years of age, it makes you wonder how serious the team should be in re-signing him this winter, if at all. For the record, I hope he does come back, and I would think the Yankees would, too. Like last winter, the team will surely give him a qualifying offer, which will be around $14 million or so, but, dollar-wise, should they go beyond that? I don't know. He's certainly not getting any younger (but who is?) and he has a lot of innings on that right arm. I'm sure this will be a heavily talked about topic around these parts once the season mercifully ends.

Although the loss of Boone Logan has hampered the bullpen a bit, Cesar Cabral has done a pretty nice job since being called up. Lefties are 1-for-6 against him with five strikeouts. He could have been brought in to face Adam Lind in the seventh with two aboard, but instead Girardi opted to go with the experience in Joba over the young Cabral. With Logan nearing free agency and possible elbow surgery, the Yankees would be wise to let him walk and give Cabral a chance. Heck, it beats signing a lefty from the free agent market for multiple years and millions of dollars and having it backfire tremendously like the Pedro Feliciano fiasco.

With the season nearing its end, thus does the marvelous career of Mariano Rivera. The Yankees' tribute to Mo will come this Sunday against the Giants and it should be something else. There will be plenty of smiles and also plenty of tears. It does suck that the Yankees will miss the playoffs in his final year, but, at the same time, I'm not going to lose a ton of sleep over it. After all, the guy has done it all in October: 42 saves, a 0.70 (!!!) ERA in 96-career postseason appearances, and five World Series rings. If this is truly it for the Yankees, Mo's final postseason appearance came against the Tigers in Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS when the Yankees trailed and eventually lost, 3-2. Gross. Either way, it can't be said enough of what Rivera has done on and off the field and the kind of man he is. There will be no one else like him. He will truly be missed.

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