Showing posts with label Bullpen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bullpen. Show all posts

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What "Everyone" Wanted

Joba is back in the pen. The place where he excited Yankees fans when he came out of AAA with a blazing fastball that dominated the late innings. When he was moved back to the starting role there was a lot of discussion whether this was the right move.

I love Joba and I have always wanted Joba as a starter. This move is in no way The Yankees giving up on Joba in the rotation. Instead he lost the postion battle and now he will do whatever he can to help the team if that is in the pen or in AAA. Now when Joba in comes out of the bullpen and does well the side that supports Chamberlain as a reliever will be yelling "I told you so". Starting pitching is a lot more valuable than relievers. I love seeing Joba come out and shut down but when he can do that for 6 innings he will. For now we just have to wait.

Joba has always been a class act and this is what he said about the whole situation:
"Right now, I have to embrace the role that I'm in," Chamberlain said. "I can't think about being a starter at this point. For me to help this team now, it's being in the bullpen and trying to figure out a way to get guys out there. It's unfair to my team to think about something else when this is my job right now."

That quote is why I love, Joba

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Veras DFA'ed for Bruney

I forgot to post this earlier but better late than never I guess. Basically this gives the Yankees a couple days to trade Veras or he gets the choice between AAA and free agency. At least that's what I think. Anyway, this is the first step in fixing this bullpen.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Move Alan Horne to the Bullpen

The Yankees pitching staff, thought to be a strength heading into 2009, has been among the worst in Major League Baseball thus far. Both the bullpen and the rotation have experienced significant struggles, and there appears to be a dire lack of "sure things" in either. Rivera has faltered, Sabathia has been up and down, and everyone between the team's two aces has been hurt, inconsistent, or both. 

In my mind, the rotation will sort itself out. The Yankees Major League roster has seven pitchers capable of starting, with Wang, Hughes, and Aceves deserving a look for the fifth and final spot. Personally, I would like to see Hughes there (as I believe he is ready, and needs to take his lumps). Wang's velocity would be up in the bullpen, and he would have more time to work on his mechanics, and Aceves has proven to be very valuable in high-leverage situations. 

The bullpen, then, is my concern. I believe that Melancon and Robertson need to stay on the roster, and Veras needs to go. I do see another pitcher that should get a look, though, that has skirted under the radar - and that is the titular Alan Horne.

Horne has been in the Yankees organization for four seasons now, and has been ineffective for three. He is injury-prone and inconsistent, and his stuff has suffered a bit following his second major arm-surgery last season. At 26, this trend is unlikely to reverse itself, leaving Horne's value as minimal, at best. I believe that, much like Phil Coke, Horne could be a very good reliever.

For those of you that don't know much about Horne, he is a power pitcher, and his mechanics leave him very prone to injury. At the same time, though, this makes him an ideal reliever. His velocity peaks at 95 in the rotation, his power slider and hard curve have been rated between average and plus, and he has a surprisingly effective change-up. He struggles with control at times, and his fastball sits below 90 at times. In the bullpen, Horne's velocity would likely increase, he would be less likely to strain himself with high pitch-counts, and he may be able to help the team fairly soon.

In the end, there's no real reason not to make the move with Horne. I dislike giving up on starting pitchers, but Horne has fallen behind several other prospects, and it seems unlikely that he will be able to right the ship at 26. That being said, he has the stuff to be a light's-out reliever, and it could very well save his career.

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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Pitching Surplus

Here's my crazy idea for the day. I've been tossing this idea around in my head for a while but the time has never been right for it. The Yankees right now have a very brief but valuable starting pitching surplus. Burnett, Sabathia, and Pettitte of course have spots set in the rotation, leaving three guys for one hole. The Yankees are going to have to figure out what to do with Wang, Joba, and Hughes. First of all, lets rule out Joba to the bullpen. Of the three he's pitched best in the rotation and he was a bonafide number one starter last year. So, this leaves Hughes and Wang battling for one spot. We can leave Wang in the bullpen and keep Hughes in the rotation, send Hughes to AAA and move Wang to the bullpen, or put Hughes in the bullpen and move Wang to the rotation. Right now, I think that's the best move for the Yankees.

Hopefully, this would not be a permanent move for Phil but it makes sense in the short term for a few reasons which I'll adress in quick and easy bulleted form.
  • He clearly has nothing left to prove in AAA. Minor leaguers are helpless against him and their's nothing left to learn from that level. This way he can build up his innings totals and still get valuable ML experience.
  • Wang had been one of the best pitchers in baseball for three years straight before getting hurt last year. Since he's come back he seems to have found himself again and does not belong wasting away in the bullpen.
  • Hughes has been mediocore thus far in the rotation. He has shown flashes of greatness but, like most 23 year olds, has been inconsistent. Their is no reason to believe he is any better than any of the Yankees' other five starters right now.
  • The bullpen needs some help from somewhere. Having another guy, in addition to Aceves, that can go multiple innings in a big spot would be huge. Hughes has been mediocore in the rotation but mediocore starters often dominate in the bullpen.

Keep in mind, this would be a very temporary solution. Somebody will get hurt eventually and Hughes can then switch back into the rotation. Even if nobody gets hurt, this would be a one year solution until a spot opens up next year. Its worth a shot and I think it would solve a lot of the Yankees' problems. Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What To Do About The Bullpen?

Now that Brian Bruney is back on the DL the Yankees have some decisions to make about their bullpen. Mo is the same old Mo, Aceves has shown some good versatility, and Phil Coke has been solid, but other than that its a pretty terrible bullpen. We really can't have Bret Tomko pitching the tenth inning come September. So where do we go from here? River Ave. Blues seems to think we need to pick up another reliever via trade, but I think we should wait to see what we have. The Yankees recently called up David Roberston from AAA, which is a good start. I also think Mark Melancon should be recalled, and the two should be up for good. Let them get used to pitching in the majors, which I think will not take very long. Once Damaso Marte comes back, that should still be a decent bullpen even if Bruney is out for an extended period of time, which seems likely given the fact that he will be visiting Dr. James Andrews soon. The bullpen come playoff time could be Mo, Marte, Melancon, Robertson, Coke, and Aceves. If Edwar Ramirez or Jose Veras can revert back to their 2008 selves we could carry a 7th reliever, or swap Aceves out for whoever figures his shit out. While that's not a great bullpen, it is far from bad, and it beats wasting trade pieces to acquire overpriced and overratted relievers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yanks Drop Tough One

I didn't get to see the first half of this game so the first thing I saw was Mark Teixeira's bizarre home run, something is wrong when you can break a bat and hit one out. Anyway, this was a tough one to lose after getting eight awesome innings after C.C. The Yankees just ran out of good pitchers and had to go to Brett Tomko. Never a good option.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Some Love For Mo?

One of the least underappreciated players on the Yankees is Mariano Rivera. His contribution to the dynasty Yankees can be overrated at times and he's probably a little overpaid right now. However, after early struggles some people thought he was finished. Through this nine game winning streak, he's been nothing short of unbelieveable, with plenty of performances of more than one inning and has not yet given up a run. So, can we give Mariano some love here?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why Does Marte Suck?

I just don't get it. The Yankees have coveted this guy since the day they let him go and justifiably so. All these years he seems like he would have been the perfect setup man for Mo. Finally, they get him with Xavier Nady for one of their top prospects (Jose Tabata) and a handful of other potentially decent guys. Suddenly he decides to start his best Kyle Farnsworth impression.

After bombing the second half of the year, he gets a new deal in the offseason. Picking up his option year would have been the smarter move but it looked pretty good at the time. Now, through the first month of the season he looks like he can't pitch. I feel like I'm watching Kyle Farnsworth every time this guy goes out. If you stop and think though, he can't be this bad.

The guy have been as unlucky as you can be. His HR/FB% is 23.1 which is absurd for a guy who consistently has it below 10. His BABIP is also sky high at .399. He's got to be on the hot seat for Yankees fans but I wouldn't totally give up on him yet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bullpen Blows It

The only way to desribe today's game is a let down. After the weeks of hype for this game, anything short of Ruth rising from the dead would have been a let down but this was pretty bad. Sabathia certainly didn't look great but he grinded (ground?) it out for almost six solid innings and exited with a 1-1 tie intact. His control clearly wasn't there but he managed to get by and you can't blame him for the loss.

The offense couldn't come through in a big spot either. After inning after inning of having RISP they didn't get a run until Posada hit the first homer in the New Stadium. They stranded a ridiculous number of runners on base and choked time after time. The bullpen was really at fault for this loss though. Their was no way the offense was going to make up the nine runs that the incredible tandem of Damaso Marte and Jose Veras. Right now I really pine for the days of Kyle Farnsworth. On the bright side, David Robertson looked really good and Edwar Ramirez was solid.

Its just one game but its wasn't a good start at the new stadium.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I went back and it turns out that I did the the third starters after all so I just need to make this post and one last post to sum it all up

Yankees- Mariano Rivera is one of a very exclusive group of relievers who manage to stay incredibly dominant for more than just a couple years. He seems to be recovering on schedule from his shoulder injury and will be ready by Opening Day baring any setbacks. He is getting older though and you have to wonder how many years he has left. The guy expected to fill the 8th inning role is Damaso Marte. He, like most relievers, has been very inconsistent over the years. All in all he's been a good setup man and the fact that he's left-handed doesn't hurt. His contract was probably a bad idea but they could've done worse. Behind these two is a long list of potential middle relievers/setup men. To list them all would be pointless but you have to think that a handful of them will stick in the major leagues. The wild card here is Mark Melancon. If he keeps dominating AAA then he'll be up in no time. The Yanks bullpen won't be a concern unless Rivera falls off a cliff.

Red Sox- Boston also seems to have found a top knotch closer in Jonathan Papelbon (who is a prime contender to replace Curt Schilling as the biggest A-hole in baseball). He made the switch from the rotation back in 2005 and he hasn't looked back since. His numbers the past three years have been very close to Rivera's and he's much younger. So, this may be the year he claims the title of best closer in the AL East. Hideki Okajima was also a great find by Theo Epstein. It gives them a formidable combination at the end of games that rivals the Yankees. . Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen are also promising. However, after that things thin out. Justin Masterson and Javy Lopez don't really inspire much confidence and Takashi Saito could be a stroke of brilliance or a disaster. If he can recover from his injury well then they have a devestating combination at the end of the game. However, the odds are against that. All in all, another great bullpen.

Rays- I hate to admit it but before this post, I knew absolutely nothing about the Rays bullpen. Thats kind of because they flat out suck. Troy Percivical, their closer, has very rarely been great and last year he was awful. On the Yankees or Red Sox he might not make the cut. At first glance, Dan Wheeler provides a glimmer of hope. However, his DIPS stats have been in decline for the past few years and are largely uninspiring. Not terrible, but not great either. After that, things get better. J. P. Howell and Grant Balfour seem promising. However, the bullpen just isn't on the same level as the Yanks and Sox.

Conclusion- Red Sox- Yankees- Rays- The Yanks and Sox are really close on this one. However, I went with Boston mainly because I have more faith in Papelbon than Rivera at this stage in their careers. On the other hand, if anything ever happed to Rivera, Joba might join the bullpen and fill the hole. Boston also has the tremendous potential of Takashi Saito. I won't argue with anyone who put the Yankees first here though. The Rays are clearly trailing the pack here. Of course, bullpens are extremely volatile and I questioned whether I wanted to make a post like this at all.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Build Me A Bullpen

Now that the offense and starting pitching are more or less set, the next thing to sort out is the bullpen. We'll assume the Yankees are going to go with seven guys out of the bullpen. We know Mo is the closer, and we know Marte will be in there, and it is probably about 99% likely that Brian Bruney is in the mix, so that leaves four bullpen slots to be filled. Let's break it down:

The Front Runners:
Jose Veras: Veras had the second most appearances out of the bullpen after Mariano last season, and seemed to earn Joe Girardi's trust. He has great stuff (9.83 K/9), but often struggled with control (4.53 BB/9). That's too many walks for a setup role, but he should be a solid middle reliever. I think if he has another stretch like he did in June and August last year (2.08 ERA in 22 games from June 25 to August 16 last year) the Yanks should look to trade him given their surplus of live arms and his erraticness (I hope that's a word).

Edwar Ramirez: Third in appearences last year, he posted a solid 3.90 ERA. He is similar to Veras in that he has a high K rate (10.25) but also can be wild (3.90 BB/9), but gives the Yankees a different look than Veras, relying on his change rather than fastball and slider. He can be lights out at times, but is disaster-prone. He did seem to mature as a pitcher last year after reportedly working with Mo, cutting his walk rate nearly in half. He also threw his fastball and slider more while going to the change less. Still, he profiles as a middle reliever.

More Middle Relief:
Jonathan Albaladejo: Acquired from the Nationals last year for Tyler Clippard, he made only seven appearances for the Yanks last year, posting a 3.95 ERA, then getting sent down and getting injured while in Scranton. Though he didn't show it in his brief stint in the majors last year, he has good control, but is less overpowering than Veras and doesn't miss as many bats as Edwar. I think his poor walk rate may have something to do with the fact that he was misused last year. Girardi made him the de facto long man, which is not his ideal role. He should be better this year, and I think he has a decent shot at breaking camp with the team.

David Robertson: The 23 year old posted a 5.34 ERA in 30.1 IP last year, but that ERA is inflated due to a few bad outings, and for the most part he was effective last year. D-Rob is another guy with a strong K Rate (10.68) and poor walk rate (4.45). He has a strong minor league track record, and if he improves his control a bit he could be a very good reliever.

Mark Melancon: Though he has no major league experience, Melancon could be the guy on this list (Mo excluded) who has the biggest impact out of the pen come September. Last year he was coming off Tommy John surgery and sped through four minor league levels, posting strong numbers at every stop. His longest stint was in Trenton, when he posted a 1.81 ERA and .89 WHIP in 49.2 IP. He will likely start the season in Scranton, but could be called up as early as May, and could eventually work his way up to an eighth inning role.

Kanekoa Texeira: A 23 year old righty acquired in the Nick Swisher deal, he put up strong numbers between Hi-A and AA last year. He has pretty good stuff, good control, and keeps the ball in the yard. He likely will not make the team out of spring training, but could be in the mix later in the year.

JB Cox: Cox is another guy who was rehabbing from TJ last year. He was a highly rated closer coming out of Texas, and had a very good pro debut in 2006. He pitched well for part of the year last year, but ran out of gas towards the end (which makes sense given the fact that he hadn't pitched in a year), which inflated his numbers a bit. He's another guy who likely won't make the team out of camp, but if he can rediscover his 2006 form can be a contributer at the big leage level during the season.

Possible Long Men:
Dan Giese: A 33 year old, Giese is a bit of a late bloomer, but he had some big league success last year, both out of the bullpen and in spot starts. He posted a 3.53 ERA in 43.1 IP, and while he is not as overpowering as some of the guys listed above, he doesn't walk many batters. He does not possess the upside of anybody I have already named, but he can go multiple innings and could provide some value as a long man.

Phil Coke: Coke is a 26 year old lefty who made his major league debut last year as a reliever, though he had been a starter his whole minor league career. He gave up just one run and ten baserunners in 14.2 IP, but will likely start in Scranton's starting rotation. He has posted decent strikeout rates and good walk rates in his minor league career, but I think he will likely end up in the bullpen, where he could potentially have value as a long man, middle reliever, or lefty specialist.

Alfredo Aceves: Another guy who made his major league debut last year, Aceves made four pretty strong starts last year and will start the year in Scranton's rotation. I think he is more likely than Coke to remain a starter, but could potentially fill a role as a big league long man.

There are your options for the bullpen this year. The Yanks pen made improvements last year, and I think it should be even better this year. Mo, Marte and Bruney are a good top three, and given the Yanks' bullpen depth they should be able to fill it out very well. My guess for the pen to start the year is Mo, Marte, Bruney, Veras, Edwar, Albaladejo, and Giese, but that will surely change as the year goes on.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Joba to Start Season in Pen

Just saw on Sports Center that according to Brian Cashman Joba is going to start next season in the bullpen because he hasn't recorded enough innings this year. We will keep you posted.

Monday, April 14, 2008

If Its Not One Thing, Its Another

The Yankees won today, ending a two-game mini losing streak, 8-7. However, it was 7-2 at one point. The offense finally showed up today, despite Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano (to start) and the 2008 MVP Jose Molina being out of the lineup. A-Rod hit a homerun, tying Ted Williams on the all-time list. Robinson Cano also homered while pinch hitting for the former attorney general in the eighth inning. The Yankees also got a quality start from Ian Patrick Kennedy, which was something that was much needed. So, seems like a good night... except for the bullpen. Billy Traber entered in the seventh inning, and gave up a two run homer to Carl Crawford. Brian Bruney also allowed a homer, and the bullpen as a whole gave up four runs in three innings. The bullpen had been good up to this point, so hopefully today was just an abberation.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Build Me a Bullpen...

Lately I've seen a lot of people forecasting the '08 Yankee bullpen and generally, I disagree. It's impossible, and probably a waste of time, to try to do this. The Yankees used 22 different pitchers out of the bullpen last year, and will use at least that many this year. Anyway, here's my take:
Mariano Rivera
Kyle Farnsworth
LaTroy Hawkins
Joba Chamberlain
Ross Ohlendorf
Scott Patterson
Heath Phillips

There it is, feel free to chime in and tell me why I'm wrong.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Waiting For Spring

There are just nine days until pitchers and catchers report, and the Yankees still have a lot of questions to be answered during Spring Training. They still have one bench spot to fill along with three bullpen slots. The bench will likely be filled by Morgan Ensberg, Kevin Mench (assuming we sign him), or Nick Green (remember him?), with Alberto Gonzalez and Brett Gardner also having outside chances. The bullpen is where it gets a little complicated. Presumably, Mariano, The Farns and LaTroy will occupy three slots, with either Moose or IPK as the long man. If Joba starts the year in the 'pen, that complicates things further, but we won't worry about that right now. So, the players competing for the three remaining bullpen slots are: Chris Britton, Jonathan Albaladejo, Brian Bruney, Sean Henn, Kei Igawa, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, Scott Patterson, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Steven White, Chase Wright, Dan Giese, Heath Phillips, Darell Rasner, Scott Strickland and Billy Traber. Some of those are more likely than others, and guys like Alan Horne, Jeff Marquez, Steven Jackson, JB Cox and Mark Melancon could help mid-season. My Pre-ST predictions (or maybe preferences) are Albaladejo, Britton and Patterson (or maybe Ohlendorf).

In other news, Derek Jeter and the state of New York came to an agreement over their tax dispute.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Three Short Points

Three Short Points:
  • David Aardsma of the Chicago White Sox has been DFA'd. I know, it's a stretch, but you never know with relievers. Good K rates, bad everything else, but he is young and he throws hard, so maybe he could be worth a non-roster invite.
  • Don Mattingly is out as Dodger's hitting coach. He says it was for family reasons, but will remain with the team as a special assistant.
  • Hideki Matsui's rehab on his right knee is not going as smoothly as expected. He is coming back to the states to get it checked out.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sanchez Could Be Ready By May

According to the AP, Humberto Sanchez, the main piece of the Gary Sheffield trade, could return to game-action by May.
From the report:

"It's going well," Sanchez said. "So far, so good. We're on the right track. Hopefully there are no setbacks."

Sanchez, who had surgery April 18, could be ready for minor league games in May.

This is great news. Before his surgery, Sanchez was a top prospect. He was originally projected to be a starter, but he could be a big help in the bullpen. Him and Mark Melancon could be called up by mid-season, and should provide a big boost.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Just Kidding: Joba Back To Rotation

According to beat writer Kat O'Brien, who has spoken to members of the Yankee organization, Joba Chamberlain will start the year in the rotation, which of course is contrary to previous reports saying that Joba will start the year in the bullpen.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Joba to Start Season in 'Pen?

According to Buster Olney, the Yanks are considering starting the season with Joba in the bullpen. The move, theoretically, is to limit Joba's innings. This move is fine by me as long as the move is only temporary. Keep Joba in the 'pen to give the Yanks some late-inning strength, then move him into the rotation towards the end of May, when hopefully, Mark Melancon and JB Cox will be just about ready. However, keeping Joba in the bullpen would just be stupid, in my opinion.