Open Thread: A Flyer On Nelson?


When the list of nontenders came out last Friday, the name most fans flocked too was Ty Wigginton, and rightfully so. The ex-Met had a career year last year, putting up a 128 OPS+ and clubbing 23 homers as the team’s regular third baseman until taking over leftfield for the injured Carlos Lee in August. With the Yanks in need of a utility man to replace, or at least compliment Cody Ransom, Wigginton would be an ideal fit. The problem is that he’d be hella expensive (he made $4.35M and has no reason to take a pay cut) and would likely opt for a full-time gig elsewhere (hellooooooo Twins) instead of sitting on the bench of the Yanks. So while most focused on Wiggington, another name grabbed my attention: ex-Marlins’ righty Joe Nelson.

You might be saying who, and that’s perfectly fine. Nelson didn’t reach the big leagues until age 26 (in 2001), when he made a 2 IP cameo from the Braves. Three years late he threw 2.2 IP for the Red Sox. Two years after that, at age 31, Nelson finally stuck in the big leagues with the Royals, finishing the 2006 season as their closer when Ambi Burgos was demoted to Triple-A. Unfortunately for Nelson, he torn his labrum late in the year, was designated for assignment, and missed all of 2007.

The Marlins grabbed him off the scrap heap, and he used his top-notch changeup to take over TEH 8Th INNiNg!11!one!! role for them after joining the team in May. His stats: 54 IP, 42 H, 60 K, 1.19 WHIP, 2.00 ERA. He showed no platoon split (.619 OPSA vs RHB, .612 vs LHB), pitched better away from the pitcher friendly confines of Dolphins Stadium (2.60 ERA at home, 1.37 on the road), and generated swings-and-missed on 27.6% of the pitches that hitters offered at (Tim Lincecum was at 25.9%). The Marlins did not tender him a contract because they didn’t want to pay him the $800,000 he was asking for, so now he’s shopping his services on the free agent market.

I wouldn’t have taken the time to write this post if I didn’t think Nelson would be a solid addition to the Yanks pen. While it was a strength for them last year, the natural volatility of relievers means back-up plans are needed. Plus it would be nice to have another veteran guy back there; you can’t run Mo, Marte and five kids out there every night. If he’s down for a minor league deal (12-14 teams have already been on him) with an invite to Spring Training, why not?

Use this as your open thread for tonight. Talk Joe Nelson, Browns-Iggles, Knicks-Suns, whatever. Just keep it civil.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Lanny says:

    Guys like this are where you also got to flex the financial muscle. It’s not just with the top echelon guys.

    They could be making a big mistake relying on young pen guys who were solid a season ago. I can see not going long years and $’s on free agents but one yr deals for guys like Nelson is good biz.

  2. Raf says:

    go for it. sounds like it could be a good move for a cheap contract.
    the importance of TEh 8th InNiNg cannot be understated lol.

  3. Reggie says:

    Does anyone think that Teixeira will sign before Christmas, like he said he hoped to?

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      Does anyone think that Teixeira will sign before Christmas, like he said he hoped to?

      I don’t. I think Boras will drag this out to Mid-January. Don’t forget, Manny is also a Boras client, so the bigger contract Boras can get for Tex, the bigger contract he can get for Manny.

  4. BigBlueAL says:

    Nelson and Lindstrom were nasty as hell for the Marlins pen. If they hadnt stuck with Gregg as the closer for so long after he imploded after the All-Star break the Marlins mightve been able to hang in the NL East race a bit longer.

  5. AndrewYF says:

    Is Nelson able to be optioned to the minors?

    If not, why block other, cheaper, younger, more fungible relievers? Nelson is going to be 34 years old, with one good season in the majors, and in the NL to boot. You say the Yankees “can’t” run Mo, Marte, and 5 kids out there, why not? That’s actually better than what they started with last year, with Mo, Farnsworth, and 5 kids, and that worked out absolutely beautifully. I believe the first blown save was actually Joba, against Cleveland. They tired down the stretch, with Veras regressing significantly, but that bullpen lost Bruney for a sizeable chunk of the year, and lost Albaladejo for all but 13.2 innings, and still put up a 3.79 ERA (and that includes Hawkins’ 5.77 garbage).

    I’d much rather see what Coke, Robertson, Melancon, Albaladejo, Sanchez et al can do before turning to a 34 year old guy who happened to perform well for the first time in his career in balmy, pressure-free Florida.

  6. Ivan says:

    Yo Mike,

    Would the Sox if they sign Tex trade Lars Anderson for some catching help? Whats your perspective?

  7. Bob Michaels says:

    I`d pass.

  8. X-Man(Angel) says:

    Taveras and Nelson

  9. Jake H says:

    I wouldn’t mind getting the guy on a deal. Really while I like Veras is he going to be dominate again next year or revert back to the guy who couldn’t sniff a job? Also Edwar is a great story but is he going to be able to locate his FB on the corners so that his change up is effective?

  10. Ivan says:

    Isn’t Nelson the same type of pitcher alla Edwar? Doesn’t Edwar has like a better Change-up?

    • Mike A. says:


      fastball: 65.2% of all pitches, avg 89.6 mph
      change: 32.7%, 79.2 mph


      fastball: 53.8%, 89.7 mph
      change: 36.1%, 79.1 mph

      So yeah, it looks like their stuff is extremely similar. It appears Nelson trusts his fastball a bit more though.

      • Steve H says:

        But is his change as deceptive as Edwar’s? Just because they throw it the same speed doesn’t mean they are comparable. Fastball sure, but the change is all about whether the hitter can see it coming or not. Clearly Edwar’s change is top notch. Maybe Nelson just trusts his change less, as opposed to trusting his fastball more.

        • Sweet Dick Willie says:

          Just because they throw it the same speed doesn’t mean they are comparable.

          That comment applies equally to their fastballs. Edwar must throw the straightest FB in MLB, because it seems to get hit pretty hard (and I can’t believe he hits 90mph).

      • Matt says:

        I love Edwar. If he could just polish that fastball, he’d be much more consistent/better.

        His K/rate is fantastic, just needs to bring down the walks and improve the fastball so dudes don’t just sit on the change.

  11. E-ROC says:

    Joe Nelson, Takashi Saito, and Jairo Cuevas along with Ty Wigginton sounds good to me.

  12. E-ROC says:

    Don’t you just hate when your truck or suv gets stuck in 4WD? That pissed me off today. Fortunately, when I prayed to MO!!!!!, my 4WD disengaged. PRAISE BE TO MO!!!!!

  13. dan says:

    He’ll get a ML deal somewhere. Maybe if he was an under-the-radar kind of guy I’d say yes, but if there are 12 teams interested I don’t see the Yankees getting a bargain.

  14. Kyle Farnsworth says:

    According to 11 teams are intrested in daniel cabrera, possibly the Yankees? my opinnion if he would sign to a minor league deal we could try to work out his problems(highly unlikely)

  15. steve (different one) says:

    i’d be more concerned about going with “5 kids” in the bullpen if there weren’t several reinforcements waiting in AAA.

    Mo, Marte, Bruney, Veras, Edwar, Albadalejo, and maybe a long man like Aceves?

    is it fair to say that is how they could start the season?

    from there, they still have Melancon, Robertson, and Coke. after that, Hungry Hungry Humberto, Texeira, and maybe Cox.

    if Nelson would take a minor league deal or sign cheaply, sure. but if he’s going to cost real money, i think he’d be a luxury.

  16. Ryan S. says:

    If I were the Yanks, I’d offer him the best minor league deal out there and see if he bites. If he does, great, let’s see how he does in ST. If he gets a major league deal, then whatever, who cares?

  17. Manimal says:

    Will the yankees ever make a Tex offer?

    • Matt12 says:

      I’ve been thinking about that, why don’t we offer him a more team friendly deal and see what happens? If I’m Mark Teixeira, and I’m weighing offers from the Nationals and the Orioles, and the Yankees step up and offer say, 18 – 20 Million over 6-8 years or something, I’d rather sign with the Yankees because they’re much more likely to win, and the few million less would be worth it for that, because what’s the point of playing if you’re not in it to win it, right?

      Of course, the Red Sox and Angels still lurk out there, but why pass on him when we can offer him that kind of deal? If he turns it down, at least we made an offer…

    • Reggie C. says:

      I think the more pressing question is which of the supposed offers made to Tex are true? Are any true? Have the Angels indeed offered 8 years? With the newest rumor being about an upcoming RS offer, the smoke only thickens. Yanks aren’t likely to bid in this hazy situation. IF we wade in, it’ll be when Tex is considering the final, best offers.

    • Will the yankees ever make a Tex offer?


  18. Ryan S. says:

    Despite the negative headline at the top of this Rob Neyer article, he actually ends up giving us props overall.

    What does RAB think?

    • Greg G. says:

      What bugs me about that article is not Neyer’s comments, but the article he cites, in which the argument is made that signing Burnett is a move similar to the “late-80s Yankees model”.

      First, Burnett will be 32 on Opening Day. He’s not exactly Tommy John or Rick Rhoden or John Candelaria.

      Second, I passionately rooted for those God-awful teams. I remember the day that we traded for Steve Trout, when Andy Hawkins pitched a no-hitter and lost, and when the “youth movement” meant guys like Clay Parker, Chuck Cary, and Jeff Johnson.

      I know I’m just a biased fan, and I never followed stats all that closely back in the 80s. Moreover, I’m not thrilled with the length of Burnett’s contract, given his injury risk, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that a pitcher of A.J. Burnett’s upside is anywhere close to the names mentioned above.


      There, now I feel much better.

      • Ryan S. says:

        If it makes you feel any better, Keith Law (also of, has high praise for Burnett – so does Bill James, as this blog pointed out in an earlier post today. There is no doubt that Burnett has an absurd upside, and you can only hope we get the most out of him.

        • Mike A. says:

          I don’t like the five years, I think it’s at least two, maybe three years too many. However, at least Burnett has a chance and the ability to be truly great. This isn’t Carl Pavano, who only had the chance to be pretty good, but not great.

          • Ryan S. says:

            Fortunately, the Yanks have 3 pitchers on their staff who each could be #1 on quite a few rotations. Burnett doesn’t need to carry the team, just contribute. Even if he goes on a DL stint this year, if he is healthy and we make it to October, I like our chances in any game he starts, especially if he’s locked in.

            • Greg G. says:

              Thanks Ryan and Mike. I agree with both of you.

              I have no problem criticizing the move, or even being totally against it (although some other Yankee bloggers have really lost their heads as far as I can tell). However, saying that it’s something the late-80s Yankees would do is just WAY off the mark.

      • Old Ranger says:

        when Andy Hawkins pitched a no-hitter and lost,


        I remember that game, it went extra innings and he lost it on an err (I think) or HR it was something in LF…I have talked to others about that game. But for some reason I only remember something happened in left field. Enlighten me if you would, he was a great hitter also. I go back a very long way, from the good times of the late ’40 through the very bad years. 27/09.

  19. Kidwithanopinion says:

    How much money would they have to pay.

  20. Nickel says:

    When I first read the title of this thread, my first thought was, “Why the heck would the Yankees want to sign Jeff Nelson again?”

    • Ivan says:

      That list is retarted.

      Igawa is bad but he’s far from the top 5 worst pitching contracts.

      You can’t put Burnett there cuz of the fact that the guy hasn’t even thrown a fuckin pitch and etc. Is he worth the money, no way but you can’t jump to that conclusion.

      Plus, you can’t have a worst pitching contract list without Hampton and Pavano.

    • pat says:

      he hasn’t approved any comments which means they’re probably all yankee fans calling him on his bullshit.

    • Greg G. says:

      Having lived in Boston for three years, I can say that that list is fairly balanced, by Boston Globe standards. If it were REALLY biased, then all 5 entries would involve the Yankees.


      • radnom says:

        I happened to come upon a free copy on Fridays Globe on the T today to find an article by Bob Ryan explaining how the $161 contract was a slap in the face to common people considering the tough economic times, and where he explained that CC was represented by Scott Boras.
        No mention of a bigger Texiera contract being offered by the Sox of course….

        • Mike A. says:

          Did he really say CC was rep’d by Boras? Because I’ll find the article and call him out on it. I don’t want to spend the time looking for it if I don’t have too.

          • Steve H says:

            Ask and you shall receive.

            CC isn’t The Babe, although the Bush-Hoover analogy has some merit. But the big southpaw is represented by the ham-handed Scott Boras, whose blind fidelity to his baseball clients sometimes leads him to make indefensibly arrogant and infuriating statements. Get back to me if you can unearth any Boras comment this week acknowledging the frightening economic times we live in. All he ever talks about is how much revenue there is in baseball and how deserving his clients are. He doesn’t understand that sometimes we don’t need to hear that.


        • Greg G. says:

          I like how you clarified that the copy of the Globe you read was free!


    • VO says:

      you know whats funny carl pavano isnt there and kei igawa is

    • Mike P says:

      The one I enjoyed was the way he said Burnett would be the next Clement. Not Pavano-Clement. Brilliant how he avoided bias while making a great argument!

  21. Ivan says:

    I was lookin at the Yanks rotation and we have to have the most talented. Not saying the best but the most talented.

    Hughes(Just a guess there)

    Who can match that talent? TB?

    • Ryan S. says:

      Honestly, no one can. Whether that last player is Hughes, Pettitte, or Sheets, there isn’t a doubt in my mind, we have the best rotation in baseball, with one of the top bullpens in the league to back it up. Pettitte is an innings eater though, and he’d be the ideal fit as our #4.

      • I disagree. I still cannot call A.J. Burnett “talented”, not when his career ERA+ is 111. He’s got nasty, filthy stuff, and great potential to be dominant, but he has not yet been dominant (except for brief flashes of brilliance surrounded by prolonged stretches of mediocrity).

        Calling A.J. Burnett “talented” when his career ERA+ is lower than Derek Lowe’s, Barry Zito’s, Andy Pettitte’s, Bartolo Colon’s, Kelvim Escobar’s, and is tied with Freddy Garcia’s and Todd Jones’s is something I’m not prepared to do.

        • Mike A. says:

          I disagree, respectfully of course. You don’t need to do anything more than watch AJ warm up in the pen to realize he’s “talented.” I don’t think anyone could make an argument that the guy isn’t “talented.”

          “Productive,” now that’s something else entirely. The guy has oodles of talent, more than he knows what to do with, but he hasn’t consistently used that talent to get results.

          • Steve H says:

            Sidney Ponson was “talented” once upon a time. Give me production.

          • You don’t need to do anything more than watch AJ warm up in the pen to realize he’s “talented.”

            Why, because he throws 98 MPH? In that case, Kyle Farnsworth is “talented”.

            Because he’s got a nice curve? Then Barry Zito is “talented”.

            I stand by my statement. A.J. Burnett has filthy stuff and excellent potential. But he’s not yet shown himself to be “talented”. Pitching is a “talent”. The ability to throw a baseball hard is nothing more than the ability to throw a baseball hard.

            • Mike A. says:

              Dude, throwing a baseball hard is a talent. Spinning a breaking ball is a talent. It’s not a learned ability, you are either born able to do or not. All ML pitchers are talented, if they weren’t, then they wouldn’t be in the bigs. Pitching is a learned ability; no one is born with the knowledge of how to set up hitter or change speeds. You learn that as you gain experience. That’s why they have pitching coaches and video tape.

              Being productive is something completely different. AJ Burnett has talent, but he hasn’t produced consistent results with it yet.

  22. LeftyLarry says:

    I think this is the best Yankee Bullpen in years.
    Mariano- Lights out
    Bruney- most under rated reliever in baseball
    Veras- was hitting 97 at the end
    Aceves- Perfect long man who can start if injuries occur.
    Edar R- I don’t believe in him but others do.
    Dave Robertson- Showed me a lot as a beginner, can he take it up a notch?
    Geise- doesn’t cost anything and can give you cheap innings.
    Melancon- Absolutley sounds like a can’t miss set up man/CLoser in the very near future.

    Marte- Wost case solid MLB reliever- i expect improvement.
    Coke- How can you not believe in him? He was throwing 95 has control and a nasty Curveball that lefties won’t touch.
    Dunn- He could be ready quickly as a port side reliever soon.

    • Ivan says:

      I sorta have to disagree with ya.

      Veras is iight but he ain’t all that. Still has suspect control and pitch a little bit over his head.

      I like Bruney but still can struggle with his control and lacks a true go to secondary pitch.

      I think your underrating Edwar here. Guys with a secondary out pitch like coming out if the pen are really rare. His change-up is in the ten heck maybe 5 in baseball and is just FB command away from being REALLY Good.

      Robertson and Melancon has tremendous upside no doubt.

      Marte/Coke have the potential to be a terrfic lefty/lefty combo.

      • Matt says:

        I have a feeling Jose Veras is going to blow up in a very bad way this season. He had a 3.59 ERA, but his WHIP was 1.405. That’s a bit of luck.

        But, his FIP was 3.98 so it’s not a HUGE difference and his tRA (cool stat from that takes the run values of each batting result into account) was 4.33, good for a tRA+ of 103 (same scale as ERA+). So maybe i’m wrong.

        • Reggie C. says:

          Speak english dude.

          “tRA+” ???

          I didn’t even know there was a “trA” ..

        • AndrewYF says:

          I agree with you. I’ve never liked Veras as a setup, or even a seventh-inning guy.

          I do like him as a guy who can give you two solid innings whenever you want, and don’t necessarily mind giving up a run.

          But I really did not like the Yankees relying on him in the end. It’s really too bad Bruney got injured last year, he really could have had a true breakout season.

        • I’ve been feeling exactly the same way.

  23. VO says:

    8:48pm: Tyler Kepner of the New York Times spoke to people involved with the deal and he gets the feeling that “the Yankees are backing away” for baseball reasons, not financial ones. Kepner adds that the Yankees know they don’t have to make this trade immediately if they don’t want to

    good move by the yankees this trade will still probablly get done but maybe the brewers will throw in bill hall (not tht i really want him but thats who everyone is talking about)just to make us get this trade done already

  24. Jamal G. says:

    Wow, Ca$hmoney must really treat RAB as gospel:

    Kepner adds that the Yankees know they don’t have to make this trade immediately if they don’t want to.

    Sound familiar?

  25. jobatheheat says:

    Question what do you think it would take to get Hunter Pence fom the Astros. You know they need good pitching and they have no money.

  26. VO says:

    Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune has a quote from Padres CEO Sandy Alderson regarding Jake Peavy:

    “It’s likely Jake will be with us Opening Day. We said from the very beginning in connection with both of those possibilities that we would not make a trade unless it made baseball sense. We are no longer actively pursuing any trade for Jake, which is not to say someone won’t approach us.”

    sorry 65hughes

    • Balls Deep says:

      Do you think Peavy has the stuff for the AL? Haven’t seen much of him except highlights; reminded me of Doc Halladay… some nasty stuff.

      • VO says:

        Well his era in the NL west was 2.85 the american league is a much more difficult league i would predict a 3.35 era he has the stuff but he wouldnt be an ace

        • Balls Deep says:

          Even at 3.50 or so; all good…who did Yanks originally rumor to send in the 15 minutes they were involved here… Kennedy/Melky/slew of AA and AAA?

          • VO says:

            i thought it was more i thought jackson was involved? but i may be mistaken

          • Steve H says:

            3.50 is extremely generous though. His ERA on the road this year was 4.28. That’s still the NL. For his career his road era is 3.80, a full run higher than his home era. And again, that’s 3.80 in the NL. For him to be a better pitcher in the AL then he was in the NL on the road would be shocking.

      • definitely. but his elbow strain + odd mechanics worry me.

  27. MasterShake says:

    Was wondering what Mad Dog was up to now and then I found this video…its painful to watch…

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.