Whither the (expensive) bullpen options

Save The Big Three (again)
Jorge, please shut up

Whether they want to pursue this philosophy or not, the Yankees won’t be overspending on bullpen help this year. Two pitchers the Yanks had targeted to some degree — Troy Percival and David Riske — have opted to go elsewhere, and that’s probably a good thing.

According to Buster Olney, Riske, the Brewers and a multi-year contract worth about $4 million per are a good fit. For Riske, his timing couldn’t be better. The Brewers just lost their closer, Riske had a great season and Scott Linebrink and the White Sox just torpedoed the relief market.

So Riske, 31, with decent career numbers, will get a large contract and probably break down at some point. At least, that’s what always happens to the Yanks when they sign relief pitcher to large deals. Strike that one off our list.

Percival, the Yanks’ other target, is heading for a two-year, $8 million payday with the Rays. While the Yanks were willing to pay Percival more to set up for Mariano Rivera, the Rays are offering Percival and his 324 career saves a chance to close. Maybe now the Rays will actually manage to beat the Red Sox once in a while.

I’m not that upset about missing out on either of these players. Riske is probably the safer bet, but he’s getting overpaid. Meanwhile, Percival is just a few years removed from basically retiring from baseball due to inoperable arm problems. After spending 2006 on the bench, he threw 40 innings for the Cardinals in 2007.

But here’s his dirty little secret: Percival, 38 and not getting any younger, pitched on back-to-back days twice all season, and one of those times was for 0.1 innings in a 15-1 blowout. The Yanks already have one headcase reliever who can’t throw on back-to-back days. Why do we need another who’s one slider away from blowing out his arm?

So with these deals, thus ends the Yanks’ half-hearted desires to sign two guys who, like the nationally televised Knicks are getting paid too much. I like this approach almost as much as I like the internal options the Yanks have available. Maybe they’ve finally learned that expensive relief options are just as ineffective as inexpensive options.

Save The Big Three (again)
Jorge, please shut up
  • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G

    I have no qualms with these two leaving however I think Ron mahay should be given serious consideration. With guys like David Ortiz, JD Drew, Carlos Pena, BJ Upton, and Nick Markakis in our division we need a decent at best southpaw out of the bullpen. Ron Villone is not the answer and even though I still like Sean Henn I do not like him in those pressure spots as of yet (let him prove himself).

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I hate Sean Henn. If I have to watch Henn cough up another game, I just might cry. He was beyond awful last year and really should have no place on this Yankee team considering the better options ahead of him.

    • kirk herbstreit

      nick markakis? really?

  • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G

    Sorry scratch the Upton thing, dunno what I was thinking. Also include Brian Roberts in that list because he’s like another Wilson Betemit only reversed when it comes to switch hitting.

    • barry

      Upton is still the shit. He’s only gonna get better, I’m worried about Upton along with all the other Rays in a couple of years.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        Forget a couple of years. I’m worried about the 2008 Rays. That team is starting to look like a real baseball team now.

        • NYFan50

          They could be a 3rd place team in the East this year.

  • ……

    I would try to pawn off Kei Igawa to the Mariners who are in dire need of starters. They have some quality relievers. Ryan Rowland-Smith catches my eye. Damaso Marte is another option on the trade market. I honestly don’t want Ron Mahay. David Riske would’ve been nice, but he’s off the board. Down in AAA we have Scott Patterson who somehow manages to K a lot of guys with no real secondary pitches, but he may make in impact down the stretch.

  • ……

    We actually have a lot of options already. Chris Britton should be at least average. He has nothing left to do in the Minors and has already proved he can handle the majors when he was in Baltimore. Edwar Ramirez could be a surprise yet again if he can place his fastball and his slider is improved. Ross Ohlendorf will likely be on the roster if the Yankee don’t pick anyone up. I’m torn on Vizcaino, I don’t want three years of him. Like I said, we could always trade for someone given our large amount of starters. Oh, and the Yankees could possibly draft an upside reliever in the rule 5 draft. With all this being said, i wouldn’t sign any reliever, except for Vizcaino on a short contract. other than that a trade looks much more appealing at this point. I wonder if it’s possible to get Juan Rincon if we traded for Johan? Look at that guys stats.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Juan Rincon was just dropped from the Garza-Young trade due to physical concerns. I’m not so sure the Yanks should be jumping all over that one right now.

      As for the Rule V draft, I don’t think the Yanks won’t have a pick this year. While the 40-man roster they filed on Nov. 20 had 39 spots, Jorge has since signed, and the Yanks don’t have any open spots. The rules say that only those not at the 40-man allotment can pick. Maybe the Yanks can pick, but I don’t think so.

      • ……

        thanks for the info. at this point, the trade market may be better. What’s wrong with Rincon? I heard it was his shoulder, but i’m not sure, but I’ve always liked the Twins relievers.

  • E-ROC

    The Rays are scary. Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir, and James Shields can be scary. Then you add that lineup to that rotation with BJ Upton, Elijah Dukes, healthy Rocco Baldelli and Carlos Pena. The Rays will win some lopsided games next year.

    Are any of the Japanese relievers any good? I still think the Yankees need a bonafide set up man that they know will deliver. It have to happen via a trade.

    • Jeterismyhomeboy

      Matt Garza and his 1.57 WHIP do not scare me in the slightest. If that was the best pitching prospect the Twins had to offer, the Yanks are playing with house money with Hughes, Joba and Kennedy.

  • tony from the bronx

    Peter Gammons is a ass licking Red Sox lover.He just said Masterson will either close or strart in 2008 for the Twins.He also just said that Lowerie would also start in 2008.Mean while he says that Horne is o k .God Gammons sucks

  • Mitchell’s Eleven

    Troy Percival reminds me of Chris Hammond, and we all know how well that comeback went…

  • Eric

    Rays scary? When they have top 3 picks every single season they should have some talent shouldn’t they?

    And the overpaid thing is a little much. What free agent isn’t given a nice contract? Obviously, the teams don’t think they’re overpaid. And it’s not our money. And what reliever has ever broken the budget of the Yankees?

    • kirk herbstreit

      actually, it is our money. who pays for tickets, buys hats, and watches the yes network? its not about breaking the budget–it’s about wasting roster spots on guys who get paid too much for the shitty job that they do. when you pay a reliever $5 mil, you’re not going to send him down to aaa or dfa him when he starts to blow (i.e. farnsworth). this blocks internal options such as britton, ramirez, ohlendorf, etc. i’m not overvaluing our prospects, but it’s good to have many options than fewer, immovable ones–especially when it comes to relief pitching.

  • mehmattski

    To be perfectly fair, it was not Scott Linebrink who broke the reliever market. It was Mariano Rivera.