Jose Campos As The Invisible Key

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Oh, did you wind up here looking for a Jose Campos injury update?

Sorry.

I don’t have one.

From what I can gather, no one else does either.

The elbow inflammation that shelved him and wasn’t supposed to be serious or long-term has kept Campos from pitching for over two months and, at this point with the minor league season over on September 3rd, he’s probably done for the year.

Of course that’s only speculation on my part because that’s all we have with the silence exhibited by the Yankees on the matter.

It’s not just the Yankees that have been mute on Campos, but the YES Network never even acknowledged that he was hurt. You’ll get nothing from their in-house blog River Avenue Blues and forget the NY Post’s Joel Sherman, Ken Davidoff; WFAN’s Sweeny Murti or anyone else who might as well have the interlocking NY tattooed on their forehead as a means of identification as to their true loyalties.

The transformation is amazing. First Campos was the lifeline—the key as it were—to defending a disastrous trade that sent their top hitting prospect Jesus Montero and a pitcher they developed Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and Campos.

Pineda was meant to be the cost-controlled, high-end starting pitcher to fill out the Yankees’ big league rotation and Campos was the young stud at age 19 who the scouts loved and would eventually develop into a top-tier starting pitcher for the club.

Pineda’s out for the year. And Campos?

Um…oh….well….gee….ignore him and he’ll go away until they can use him? Is that the strategy?

So quick to reference his abilities and that the trade wasn’t about Pineda as a single entity, Campos was trotted out again and again to defend the shoddy record of GM Brian Cashman in judging pitchers.

It was Campos, Campos, Campos.

Then he got hurt adding to the embarrassment of the Pineda injury and that they gave away a bat that they were about to trade to get Cliff Lee two years ago and if they had him now could trade as part of a deal for any number of players who are or might be available from Cole Hamels to Justin Upton.

Now they have nothing.

Campos is persona non grata and they won’t even acknowledge his existence as long as he’s unable to pitch. The media hasn’t updated nor have they apparently bothered asking what the story is with Campos; when he’s going to return; what the doctor’s recommendations were.

Nothing.

Not to worry. If and when he’s healthy again, the Yankees will put him on their notably successful pitching program of innings limits, pitch counts and “protective services” that are more akin to extortion than implementations in the interests of the individual. He’ll be on the same carefully crafted plan that led to the ruination of Joba Chamberlain as a starter; have stagnated the development of Phil Hughes; led to the horrific control problems and demotion from Triple A to Double A for Dellin Betances; and the injury to Manny Banuelos.

Ian Kennedy turned into a good pitcher…in Arizona.

Then again, why should they need the update on Campos? He was the key at their convenience and when he got hurt, he turned into the invisible man.

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The Life And Rant Of Brian

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I apologize in advance for subjecting you to the writing of Joel Sherman.

Sherman wrote this piece in today’s NY Post in which Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman went into a self-indulgent tangent about the Life of Brian.

It’s no wonder he’s defensive considering his pitching choices that have deprived the team of their number 1 hitting prospect Jesus Montero and a useful arm for their rotation in Hector Noesi in exchange for two pitchers that now reside on the disabled list and will be there for the foreseeable future. Michael Pineda—who Cashman referenced in the piece with a clear agenda to defend himself—is lost for the year with shoulder surgery. Jose Campos is also on the minor league disabled list. He was initially put on the 7-day DL with elbow inflammation. That “7-day DL” has lasted for, by my count, 46 days.

Manny Banuelos is also injured and Dellin Betances has lost the ability to throw consistent strikes. The reality surrounding Cashman’s pitching maneuvers precludes any raving mania of, “It’s not my fault!”

Here are the main clips from Cashman’s rant. Facts ruin his foundation for said rant.

Cashman stews because he does not like the perception the Yankees’ usage strategy led to Joba Chamberlain’s Tommy John surgery.

No one who knows anything about baseball and pitching thinks that it was the Yankees’ usage of Chamberlain that caused his Tommy John surgery. Tommy John happens to pitchers who are starters, relievers, journeyman, stars, huge prospects and non-prospects. It happens to infielders, outfielders and catchers. It happens to quarterbacks in the NFL and anyone who stresses their elbow ligament with a throwing motion. There’s no stopping it no matter how cognizant and cautious teams are. Stephen Strasburg was the catalyst for the Sherman column to begin with and in spite of their babying, Strasburg got hurt too. That same thing happened to Chamberlain and it’s not the Yankees’ fault.

In fact, he used the term “people are so [bleeping] stupid” three times because he feels matters have been twisted to fit a narrative that he does not know what he is doing.

There’s a significant difference between not knowing what one is doing and not realizing that what one is doing is not working. Whether or not Cashman knows what he’s doing is only determined by the results of what he does and his pitching decisions have been, by and large, failures.

He’s clung to the innings limits, rules and regulations that have been shunned by other clubs and watched as those clubs have developed their young pitchers with greater rates of success than the Yankees have.

The most glaring part of this lament is that he’s still clutching to these failed strategies like he’s in quicksand and they’re a lingering tree branch. He’s made no indication of accepting that things may need to change to get the most out of the talented young arms they’ve accrued.

“Joba was a starter his whole amateur career and his first pro season (2007) with us,” Cashman said. “We only brought him up to relieve to finish off the innings he was allowed to throw while trying to help [the major league team]. And we probably don’t make the playoffs in ’07 if we didn’t put him in the pen. But he wasn’t bounced back and forth. And the debate only began because instead of keeping him in the minors hidden as a starter, we tried to win in the majors.”

This is the Yankees’ fault. Period.

If the long-term intention was to make Chamberlain a starter, what they should’ve done after 2007 was to make him a starting pitcher and leave him in the starting rotation in the face of the demands of the players, the media and the fans.

They didn’t.

Here’s what happened with Chamberlain: he was so unhittable as a reliever that he could not, would not surpass that work he did over that magical month-and-a-half in 2007. If not for the midges in Cleveland, that Yankees team might’ve won the World Series. The entire context of Chamberlain from his dominance to the “Joba Rules” T-shirts to the fist pumping made him into a phenomenon. It’s up to the man running the organization to contain the phenomenon and Cashman didn’t do it.

Cashman is engaging in revisionist history here to shield himself from the onus of contributing to Chamberlain’s on-field performance downfall, not his Tommy John surgery nor the shoulder injury that’s been called the real reason his stuff has declined and why he can’t start.

The debate began because he was a dominant reliever. They kept using him as a reliever to start the 2008 season, then shoved him into the rotation with the same hindrances preventing him from getting into a rhythm as a starter.

It got worse in 2009 as they again jerked him back and forth, placed him in the rotation—in the big leagues—but used him as if it was spring training during the regular season and let him pitch 3 innings in one start before pulling him; 4 innings in another start before pulling him, and continuing with this charade. Even when he pitched well and appeared to be finding his groove as a starter, they messed with him by giving him unneeded “extra” rest. After that extra rest, he reverted into the pitcher with the power fastball, inconsistent command and scattershot secondary pitches. Saying he wasn’t bounced back and forth is either a lie or Cashman has truly convinced himself of the fantasy.

Cashman also angrily said he believes the Yankees are held to a higher standard on this matter. He noted most organizations — such as the Nationals with Jordan Zimmermann and Strasburg, and the Mariners with Michael Pineda — shut down young starters when they have reached a prescribed innings cap.

If there’s a “higher standard” for the Yankees it’s because they invite it with the suggestion that they’re better than everyone else.

And no, Brian. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t get the benefits of being the “Yankees” without having to endure what’s perceived as a negative when it doesn’t go your way. I say “Yankees” in quotes because I’m not talking about them as the most decorated organization in baseball, but as the entity of the “Yankees” with their history and smug condescension of being one of the richest, most famous and recognized brand in the entire world. He has more money than any other GM to spend and with that comes responsibility. When things go wrong, he’s the man who holds the bag.

Without getting into a Selena Roberts-style bit of autodidactic pop psychology the kind she used with her amateurish biography of Alex Rodriguez and traced every A-Rod foible to his father having abandoned the family, it’s abundantly clear that Cashman’s profane forthrightness—bordering on unhinged—is stemming from the pressure he’s feeling not just for the hellish trade he made for Pineda and Campos, but because of his off-field crises that have embarrassed him as well as the organization and made him into someone whose mid-life disaster is negatively affecting his job.

It may have been cathartic to get these feelings out into the open, but he’d have been better off telling it to a psychiatrist than a hack writer from the New York Post because all this did was place Cashman back into the headlines with a bullseye on his back as a paranoid, egomaniacal, deluded and self-involved person whose job is on the line.

It’s not the “bleeping stupid” people who are to blame. It’s Cashman himself. He did it and he has to face the consequences.

All he succeeded in doing was to make himself look worse.

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The Geek Chorus and Disappearance of Jose Campos

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As the final out of David Robertson’s first save chance in replacing Mariano Rivera was recorded, YES play-by-play man Michael Kay delivered a familiarly preplanned and predictably terrible speech. He did the same thing when Derek Jeter recorded his 3000th hit.

Kay injected such words as “crucible” and referred to the save as “A.M.” for After Mariano.

For some reason, he thinks these postscripts are good.

They’re not.

As religious as Rivera is, the biblical undertones would probably be quite offensive and he’d bristle at his deification by others.

Robertson got the save, but it wasn’t easy and he’s not going to slide neatly into the role as is foolishly and ignorantly believed.

On another important note, Jose Campos has apparently disappeared.

Mike Francesa (amid his redundant entreaties for the Mets to give Terry Collins a contract extension, apparently unaware or uninterested that Collins’s 2013 contract option was exercised last September and another extension is unneeded) had WFAN Yankees’ beat reporter Sweeny Murti on the show and they were discussing the Yankees’ pitching problems. Along with the news of when Andy Pettitte is scheduled to start (Sunday) and other matters, they utilized a pretzel-twist defense of GM Brian Cashman and the presently nightmarish and possibly long-term disastrous trade of Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda (out for a year with labrum surgery) and Campos (on the minor league disabled list with elbow inflammation).

Basically the line was, “We’ll have to wait a few years to truly be able to judge the trade.”

Would it be a similar circumstance if Pineda was 5-0 for the Yankees and Campos was blowing hitters away as he did in his first few starts before he got hurt?

Campos was the lifeline, constantly mentioned as the most important and shockingly available piece to the trade…until the injury. Now the storyline is that with young pitchers, it’s a crapshoot.

You’d like a baseball team to be run like a business?

Okay. Let’s run it like a business.

Say you have a company and the person running the day-to-day operations of said company has made a multitude of mistakes in one imperative department—a department that is widely believed to be the key to success.

Then that person was romantically involved with an someone who was, at best, mentally unstable and he chose to use his office to write a reference for that person on company stationery, essentially giving company approval to a dangerous individual.

Then a deal is made that turns out to be bad practically and financially in the short-term and has the potential to degenerate to catastrophic proportions in the long-term.

What would be done to that person?

They’d be forced out.

Yet Brian Cashman is still defended with such silliness as this article in today’s NY Times about the pitching issues the Yankees have had and comparisons to the far more successful Tampa Bay Rays’ method of building pitchers, keeping them healthy and productive.

Here’s the relevant quote from the piece:

“I know they have a lot younger guys, but Pineda’s young and he just went down,” Cashman said. “I know the innings here are more stressful than the innings there, no doubt about that. Throwing 100 pitches in New York versus 100 pitches in Tampa are two different stresses. The stress level’s radically different on each pitch.”

Cashman neglects to add why the Yankees’ young pitchers have been so stressed. The Rays don’t go start-to-start for a rotation spot with one bad game cause for a demotion—and they have the depth to do it if they chose to.

The Rays don’t cause a media frenzy when a pitcher isn’t throwing 99-mph fastballs as expected on March 5th as the Yankees did with Pineda.

The Rays don’t have a cookie-cutter program for their pitchers that they cling to in the face of repeated mistakes. They see what works and when it doesn’t, they try something else.

And the Rays treat their pitchers with an personal concern for the mental aspect of the game that the Yankees clearly don’t.

Currently the only thing preventing that trade from being called the aforementioned catastrophe is that Campos’s diagnosis (so far) is elbow inflammation and Noesi and Montero are still finding their way in the big leagues. If Campos is seriously hurt and Noesi and Montero get past the nascent phase of their careers and start to come of age, then what? Are we going to get another series of caveats that “you never know with pitchers”? Or are we going to hear that Montero and Noesi didn’t have the “makeup” for New York?

No one wants to hear about the “process” anymore. The Yankees are not “process” driven. For an organization that views any season that doesn’t end in a championship as an overt failure, there’s no room for “well, we’ll see” with pitchers like Pineda who was going to be a key component for this year’s championship run. No one wants to hear about a 19-year-old kid, Campos, when the Yankees have faltered in developing every hotshot young starter that’s been touted as the next big superstar over the past fifteen years.

It’s enough with the parsing.

The arrogance is stifling and tiresome. There’s a perception that even when the Yankees lose, they still win. Cliff Lee beat the Yankees with the Rangers in 2010? Okay, we’ll just sign him and he’ll be with us. But he didn’t want to sign with the Yankees. Maybe it wasn’t because he didn’t appreciate the privilege of being part of the rich tapestry of history inherent with the world’s most recognizable franchise; it might be because he didn’t appreciate his wife being spit on and cursed at during the ALCS; or maybe he just preferred the Phillies and the National League.

He doesn’t have to give a reason.

But it still comes back to controlling the story; to twisting reality to fit a narrative as Kay does with his insipid soliloquies.

And it goes back to searching the YES Network website for news about the injury to Campos and coming up with absolutely nothing as if the pitcher doesn’t exist.

Go on. Search it. Click here and see what comes up when conducting a websearch on the site of the YANKEES owned broadcasting arm by typing “Jose Campos”.

Nothing.

In their world, he’s whitewashed. That’s at least until they can use him to validate their continued delusions. Then we won’t stop hearing about him. Until then, he’s a ghost.

Such is life under an out-of-touch dictatorship whose glossy façade is coming apart piece-by-piece.

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Did The “Key” Break In The Lock?

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Amid the Yankees scrambling after the Mariano Rivera injury (referred in some ludicrous, self-centered and delusional circles as a “tragedy”), it’s gone almost completely unreported that Jose Campos is now hurt as well.

The big league portion of the trade that sent Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners was, of course, Michael Pineda.

Pineda was meant to fill a gaping hole in the Yankees’ rotation and provide the team with quality innings at an affordable and controllable price for the foreseeable future.

Pineda is on the disabled list and expected to be out for a year after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on a torn labrum in his shoulder.

But Pineda wasn’t seen as the most important piece in the trade.

No.

The most important piece—the “key” as it were—was the 19-year-old Campos. Campos received raves from everyone who’s seen him. Apparently he’s a wonderful talent.

Naturally the attempts to bolster the value of this trade predicated that Campos be treated as if he’s the big piece in the deal. This was especially so after Pineda got hurt.

But now, after a brilliant start for the Yankees’ single-A affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina, Campos is on the 7-day disabled list and underwent an MRI for an elbow issue after getting blasted for 8 runs, 7 hits and 3 walks in 2.2 innings on April 28th.

You can read a small snippet (all I could find about it without digging) here on the Minor Matters Blog.

He was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 1st.

It’s now May 5th.

They don’t have the results?

There’s no news about this?

I did a websearch and only found a couple of mentions about this and had to go to the Charleston Riverdogs’ website to see Campos’s gamelog stats.

There’s no mention of Campos’s injury nor of him getting an MRI anywhere on that site. Not on the headlines; not in the game reports; not in the press releases. Nowhere.

Are the Yankees stonewalling? Hoping no one notices that the other piece—the “key”—is now injured as well?

Where’s the news release? The information?

There is no information. The way they’ve kept silent is a clear indicator that they’re trying to find a way to spin “doctor” (intentional pun) their way out of the inevitable and endless ridicule they and GM Brian Cashman will receive (and deserve) for making that trade and getting two pitchers who both got injured a month into their first season as members of the Yankees.

Disaster doesn’t even begin to describe this trade.

And it’s getting worse and worse with no end in sight.

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