Monday, June 15, 2009

Bullpen Moves

TheYankees are in pretty good shape right now. They're only two games behind Boston for the division and three games ahead of the Angels, Toronto, and Tampa for the Wild Card. If not for their miserable record against the Red Sox, they'd be sitting on top of the AL East with a comfortable lead. However, they have some obvious flaws and we're at the point in the season were the sample sizes are starting to become large enough for some use.

Its pretty obvious that some players are just not getting the job done and their are other guys languishing away in the minor leagues, waiting for a shot. Jose Veras, Phil Coke (more on him later), and Brett Tomko have just been awful. Replacing them with a few guys that can actually pitch would go a long way towards solving our bullpen issues.

First of all, we have the obvious. Brian Bruney will make his return tomorrow and if he can pitch anything like he did last year and the start of this year, he will quickly find his way back to the eight inning role (although I could change my mind tomorrow on that). I have high hopes for Bruney and believe that he, not Melancon or Joba, will be the next Yankees closer. His fastball velocity has steadily been rising over the years and at 27, is in the prime of his career.

Next is Mark Melancon to most Yankees fans he is the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. I was calling for his promotion last September and now I definitely think he's ready. He didn't really get much of a shot in his brief ML stint this year but I think with time he will establish himself as a reliable cog in that bullpen. Anthony Claggett and Edwar Ramirez would also be in line for this spot.

Finally, we need a guy that can go multiple innings to take Tomko's place. That guy, for me, is Sergio Mitre. He has two good starts under his belt now in AAA and about nine innings of A ball in which he posted an FIP of 2.45. In his last ML stint in Florida, since then he's been hurt, he posted a deceptively high, but still solid, ERA of 4.65. I say deceptively high because his FIP was two ticks under four.

I doubt Coke will go because his ERA is low and he has earned Girardi's trust but Tomko and Veras for Mitre and Bruney would be an excellent trade off. I really don't care how good Veras' stuff is, he doesn't get outs and that's the bottom line.

BTW, this is the 1,000th post on the Chuck Knoblog. Its come a long way since I first joined Charlie and Nate back in August of last year and even longer since Nate launched the latest and greatest unnecesary Yankees blog. Its been great and I hope we can keep going for another 1,000 posts.