Jun
16

The new and improved bullpen

By

Phil CokeWhen the Yankees welcome setup man Brian Bruney back later today, it will be the first time they can go into a game knowing who will pitch the 8th inning in a close game in nearly two months. Well, I guess CC Sabathia counts every five days, but I digress. As much of an eyesore as the bullpen has been this season, Tyler Kepner points out that the Yankee relievers have quietly pulled it together in June thanks to the work of four men: David Robertson, Phil Hughes, Phil Coke and Al Aceves. They’ve combined to allow just 25 baserunners and 5 earned runs in 23 innings this month, striking out 23. Of those four, only Coke broke camp with the team out of Spring Training.

As I was wont to point out in April, the bullpen at the end of the year will look nothing like the bullpen that started it. Edwar Ramirez and Jon Albaladejo have been banished to the minor leagues in favor of Robertson and Hughes, kids with upside that can actually put a fastball by a hitter once in a while. Jose Veras has gone from trusted setup man to janitor (get it, mop up man? haha … okay fine I stole that one from Joe). Damaso Marte‘s injury thrust Al Aceves into high leverage spots, and Brett Tomko has been serviceable while keeping Bruney’s seat warm (before Friday’s meltdown he had a 2.53 ERA). As of this very moment, only three members of the Opening Day bullpen are still on the active roster: Mariano Rivera, Phil Coke, and the aforementioned Mr. Veras.

This isn’t anything new either. Last year’s Opening Day bullpen consisted of guys like Albaladejo, Billy Traber, LaTroy Hawkins, Kyle Farnsworth and Ross Ohlendorf. By the time September call-ups rolled around, Mo and Bruney were the only relievers left standing from the Opening Day squad. The year before that you had Mike Myers and Scott Proctor and Sean Henn start the year just beyond the right left-centerfield fence, none of them lasting the season. That’s the beauty of not spending big money on volatile relievers: flexibility.

The 2009 bullpen has gotten progressively better each month as bodies were shifted in and out until the right mix was found. They went from a 6.46 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in April to 4.04 & 1.39 in May to 3.29 & 1.17 in June. With Brian Bruney coming back today, expect those June numbers to get even better, because frankly the dude’s been money since the start of last season. Yeah yeah yeah I know it’s only 43.1 IP with two pretty serious injuries mixed in, but in those 43.1 innings he’s allowed just 21 hits and struck out 46. He also cut his walk rate down to 3.7 BB/9, hardly eye popping, but worlds better than the 6.9 mark he put up in his three seasons prior to that.

As Joe pointed out yesterday, one of the current members of the bullpen will go bye bye to make room for Bruney. Bryan Hoch confirmed with Joe Girardi yesterday that will in fact be a pitcher-for-pitcher move, so any worries about the 13-man pitching staff should end. It would be absurd to option David Robertson given his work during his latest call-up (13.5 K/9, .472 OPS, SSS warning), and such a move would have me seriously questioning the front office’s desire to field the best team. That leaves Tomko and Veras as the two candidates to go, and as bad as he’s looked at times, Veras is ten years younger than Tomko. It really doesn’t matter who they keep and who they cut, because whichever guy stays will be working super low leverage mop up innings anyway. Keep Veras, he’s younger and has a better arm.

Earlier this season Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi repeated time and time again that they would ride it out and see if the bullpen corrects itself before doing anything drastic. While no one would be opposed to adding a Huston Street at the right price, the relief corps seem to finally be headed down the path towards effectiveness.

Photo Credit: Jarrett Baker, Getty Images

Categories : Death by Bullpen
  • Jack

    I agree, I think it’ll be Tomko who goes. Veras might be salvageable, probably not, but for now he can pitch in mop up duty. And they’d probably want to DFA Tomko over Veras on the off chance that Veras does get it together with another AL contender.

    • Jack

      And if it is Robertson who they send down, somebody needs to be fired. The bullpen will actually be pretty decent with Bruney, Coke, Aceves, Robertson, and Mo.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      And they’d probably want to DFA Tomko over Veras on the off chance that Veras does get it together with another AL contender.

      Precisely. Between the two of them, Tomko latching on to someone else, pitching well, and coming back to haunt us is the less likely scenario.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        hey…think there would be any desire from any random team that we could trade tomko, for org filler if nothing else? cause if we dfa him, dont we have to pay him for the rest of the year anyway? it seems like if we’re going to pay, we should at least have SOMETHING…yes no maybe?

        • jsbrendog

          the natinals could use someone…anyone…bueller….

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    My hope:

    Current Yankee Pen (in descending order of leverage usage):
    1) Mo
    2) Bruney
    t3) Aceves
    t3) Robertson
    t3) Coke
    6) Veras
    longman handcuffed to Wang) Hughes

    Tomko gets DFA’d today. If Wang pitches well two more starts, Hughes is optioned back to Scranton for Melancon, who takes the #6 spot and Veras moves to #7. If Wang struggles, Hughes moves back into the rotation and Wang becomes the #7 man in the pen as he continues to work on his shit in low leverage situations, an inning at a time if necessary.

    By August, my goal is:
    1) Mo
    2) Bruney
    3) Marte
    t4) Aceves
    t4) Robertson
    t4) Coke
    7) Melancon

    That’s a damn good bullpen.

    • ArodMVP217 FTW!

      good call. I still love Marte. Just hope the Wanger can pull it together

    • Axl

      Melancon stinks. Why are we optioning him to the majors when he’s showing many signs of trouble in the minors…

      And Wang WON’T have 2 good starts. I haven’t seen anything that indicates he’s getting any better. Nobody seems to be doing anything. They just keep starting him and he just keeps getting bopped around over and over. He throws less pitches per inning because more people are swinging and hitting them. They through him into the lion’s den without acknowledging the fact that his sinker still wasn’t working. Velocity is there? Great. That means absolutely nothing if your mechanics are all out of wack. Just ask Kyle Farnsworth.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Mark Melancon has pitched a grand total of 3.1 innings for the New York Yankees this season; I’m glad you know he stinks already. We can just dump him now then, huh?

      • Stryker

        except in his last two starts his sink and velocity are back. but, you know, the two main aspects of this guy’s game are improving and you still seem to think that shows nothing. let’s hope no one lets you run a baseball organization.

        • Axl

          Yeah, heaven forbid that anybody with their head on straight runs an organization. The only reason Wang is out there instead of Hughes is because he gets paid millions of dollars. If they made the same amount…you’d see Wang in the bullpen faster than you unzipping your fly at a gay pride parade.

          • UWS

            The only reason Wang is out there instead of Hughes is because he went something like 38-15 in the previous two seasons and deserves the benefit of the doubt. I’m not thrilled with it, but I understand the reasoning.

          • A.D.

            Well its actually because Wang is a two time 19 game winner that can log 200 innings this year.

            • Axl

              Tom Glavine is a 5 time 20+ game winner…and the Braves released him. What’s in the past is in the past sometimes. Especially after injuries and with age (in Glavines case).

              • radnom

                Except Wang isn’t years and years removed from his good seasons.

                You are dead wrong if you think the reason Wang is in the rotation is because he makes ~4 million dollars more than Hughes.

                They still think they can get something out of him.

                Obviously you disagree, but pardon the rest of us for not taking your word for it. No one knows how this is going to play out, least of all you.

              • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

                Glavine is also as old as your routine. Wang is under 30.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  “Glavine is also as old as your routine.”

                  (golf clap)

                • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

                  a thank you, a thank you.

                • Axl

                  Get a room…

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            I can’t believe no one’s said anything about the homophobic end to the comment. Knock it off, Axl. You can make your points in other ways.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              We do seem to have a high correlation of crazy commenters to homophobic commenters in here…

            • Axl

              I don’t see how pointing out an obvious attribute is considered “homophobic”. I don’t care about anybody’s sexual orientation…I just remember reading somewhere on this site that he was “the fastest in the East”…lol

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Axl says:
                June 16th, 2009 at 12:47 pm
                “If they made the same amount…you’d see Wang in the bullpen faster than you unzipping your fly at a gay pride parade.”

                How exactly were we to interpret that non-germane appendix to your comment, Axl, other than it being a homophobic non sequitur directed at Stryker?

                I’d love to hear this one. Seriously.

      • Joe R

        What exactly are his many signs of trouble in the minors? His 2.7 ERA or is it his 11.62 K/9? His ERA is only that high due to like 2 bad outings. I’d say he’s doing alright.

    • Reggie C.

      Would be better … no … downright LETHAL if it were:

      1. Mo
      2. Huston Street
      3. Bruney
      4. Marte
      5. Aceves
      6. Coke
      7. Melancon / Robertson

      – Probably lose one of melancon/robertson in the Street deal.

      • JP

        Where do people come off thinking Marte is so good? He was good in Pittsburgh, I guess…but I don’t remember him being anything special since he came to the Yankees. Disappointing, actually.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I swear to Mo, I’m going to have to link to this damn comment about a thousand times this summer.

          http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-419755

          • jsbrendog

            i gave up. i mentioned it last night when the news opf his shoulder came back good. people with the uninformed opinions and inability to go look at statistics are so frustrating.

            marte has quite possibly been the most ocnsistent reliever in the past 5-10 yrs. DEFINITELY the most consstent lefty.

            • jsbrendog

              non closer vriety

          • whozat

            Tom Zig’s response to this is exemplary.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Agreed. Tom Zig has great comedic timing. He’s the man.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          From August 16th to the end of the season last year, Marte had a 1.64 ERA and held opponents to a .135-.256-.135 line. Then, you know, there’s the six straight years in which he posted no worse than a 119 ERA+ (avg ERA+ in that span = 168.5).

          He’s a very good reliever, he just didn’t show it this year. Chances are that had something to do with his present injury.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Then, you know, there’s the six straight years in which he posted no worse than a 119 ERA+ (avg ERA+ in that span = 168.5).

            From my linked comment:

            Damaso Marte, pre-NYY, career:
            2002 – 2.83 ERA in 60.1 IP, 159 ERA+, 1.028 WHIP
            2003 – 1.58 ERA in 79.2 IP, 292 ERA+, 1.054 WHIP
            2004 – 3.42 ERA in 73.2 IP, 138 ERA+, 1.222 WHIP
            2005 – 3.77 ERA in 45.1 IP, 119 ERA+, 1.721 WHIP
            2006 – 3.70 ERA in 58.1 IP, 120 ERA+, 1.406 WHIP
            2007 – 2.38 ERA in 45.1 IP, 183 ERA+, 1.103 WHIP
            2008 – 3.47 ERA in 46.2 IP, 119 ERA+, 1.157 WHIP

            • Arod, all the time

              I see nothing in those stats that portend Marte succeeding in the AL East. Fact is he has thrown 23 atrocious innings since switching leagues/divisions. Other facts are that Bruney is hurt more often then not, so he cannot be relied on, and anyone believing Street, if acquired, will work in the East is nuts. He tanked under pressure in Oakland but he’s going to be fine in NY? What kind of crazy talk is that?

              I believe the solution to NYY’s bullpen (short of reversing this ridiculous Joba experiment) is settling for Girardi’s attempts to put each man in a position to succeed by playing matchups, even if it has pissed of the team’s fans, to date (mostly because it hasn’t worked).

              • jsbrendog

                http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-433898

                From August 16th to the end of the season last year, Marte had a 1.64 ERA and held opponents to a .135-.256-.135 line.

                can you read?

                • Arod, all the time

                  Over 11 IP with the Yankees playing mostly meaningless games. You really think that means anything?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Let’s review:

                  Us: Damaso Marte is very good.
                  You: Yeah, but he’s not good when he pitches in this really small sample of games in the AL East.
                  Us: Except for the fact that there’s a really small sample of games in the AL East where he’s actually been very good.
                  You: Yeah, but that small sample of games is meaningless because it’s small sample.

                  (rolls eyes)

                • Stryker

                  umm…the last time i checked the games in august – the end of the season had the same meaning/are counted the same as games in the beginning or middle of the season.

              • jsbrendog

                short of reversing this ridiculous Joba experiment

                now i see this. oaktag. your opinions are heretofore negated

        • JP

          I just said I didn’t know where people got the idea.

          Now I know.

          Never mind.

          /emily litella

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Heh.

            Jane, you ignorant slut.

        • donttradecano

          He was good in Pittsburgh

          Sure, low leverage situations, but he still has to get out majore league hitters. But lets look at the star players hes gotten out:

          David Ortiz: 15 PA 1HR 3RBI .167AVG
          Jason Giambi: 9 PA .000AVG
          Ichiro: 9PA .167

          Markakis hits .143, Michael Young hits .167, Damon has no hits, same for Thoma and Abreu, Delgado in 11 PA hits .111, Fielder, Matsui and Maur all hit .222.

          Sure righties like Pujols and Tex hit good against him, but hes been effective against some of the best lefties in the game. Sure its a small sample size, but your going to get that with relievers who pitch 1 inning.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            And, he had a 166 ERA+ in the AL with the White Sox from 2002-2005. So the whole “Yeah, but it was in the NL against weak competition” line is also crap.

    • thebusiness

      you win.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    If, and it’s a big IF, Wang can get it together as a starter, I think leaving Hughes in the pen for the rest of the season wouldn’t be a terrible thing. He’s looked pretty good in the bullpen so far.
    It’s kind of Earl Weaverish, but Hughes would be able to learn then hitters a little better and would be able to pick Mo’s brain for the year. Next year, Hughes slides right into Andy’s spot in the rotation, and the Yankees go for #28.

    • ArodMVP217 FTW!

      except still with the innings limit. I want Phil pitching >=190 innings next year. That means he has to pitch >=160 this year.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I want Phil pitching >=190 210 innings next year. That means he has to pitch >=160 180 this year.

        Fixed.

        • ArodMVP217 FTW!

          much obliged

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    If Robertson gets the shaft, I’ll drive up to Wilton, find Cashman’s house, and punch him square in the nads.

    Anyway, I’m very excited about Bruney coming back and hope he can continue his ass-kickery. I think riding out the ‘pen is the right thing to do. Like Mike said, trading for Street would be nice, but a tad short sighted and maybe a bit of a “panic” move. Perhaps if Bruney is ineffective or Marte can’t come back a move for Street would be warranted, but with Colorado actually playing well it seems as though Street will not be available. They’d also probably want more than the Yankees could be willing to give up.

    • Reggie C.

      If Bruney is ineffective OR once again lands on the DL and Marte finds his confidence after getting the go-ahead from Dr. Andrews , then sure … the Yankee ‘pen looks alot stronger.

      I however can’t bank on it. Huston Street isn’t a luxury. Street is a necessity. Its not a panic move to upgrade your ‘pen and field a lethal 8th-9th inning punch.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        I don’t think he’s a necessity right now. He’s a necessity if the bullpen has another hiccup or someone else gets hurt but at this moment, I’m not ready to call him a necessity.

        Necessity.

        • Reggie C.

          I’m not one to make predictions on any ballplayer’s health , but Bruney and Marte simply haven’t inspired confidence. Marte hasn’t pitched the whole year so to think he’ll find his form by August is asking for too much. Bruney’s somehow developed a legion of followers based on under 50 IP in pinstripes. How does Cash NOT make this upgrade to Street, who’s young and a veteran and healthy?

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            That’s fair enough. I’m just willing to wait and see what happens in the next few weeks, mostly to see if the Rockies fall out of it and become sellers.

          • whozat

            Because he’ll cost Zach MacAllister + more, while Bruney costs nothing?

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              That, too.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Because he’ll cost Zach MacAllister + more, while Bruney costs nothing?

              That one.

    • Rick in Boston

      wait a sec…Cash lives in Wilton? I wonder if he and Steve Phillips are neighbors (I’m originally from there and Phillips brought his secretary to a speech once, not his then-wife).

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Yeah, I’m he lives up there. A friend of mine said a girl he used to date would babysit for Cash’s kids occasionally.

        • jsbrendog

          my friend saw cash in a jamba juice in darien about 6 months ago

        • MattG

          At first, I read that as a girl that Cashman used to date babysit for him.

  • JGS

    Sean Henn and co. would have been waiting beyond the left-center field wall, not right

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      D’oh. Fixed now. How soon I forget.

  • Mister Delaware

    This is a no-brainer. Cashman doesn’t screw these up.

    • radnom

      Remember Richie Sexson last year?

      Or how about once-a-month Berroa this year?

      Occasionally there are questionable roster moves favoring underproducing “veterans”….

  • Axl

    What I don’t understand is how we’re all able to say Brian Bruney is this awesome set-up guy after an extremely small sample size of success…but if we say anything negative about somebody with an even LARGER sample size…the excuse is thrown around that the sample size is too small and I’m a jerk for bringing it up. The guy has shown flashes of greatness…but he’s also shown inconsistency and mediocrity as well. If Brian Bruney is one of the best set up men in the league. Ben Zobrist is the greatest player to ever live.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Who said that Bruney is one of the best set up men in baseball? Plus, Mike fully acknowledged the relatively SSS that Brian Bruney has.

    • Jack

      Who said he’s “one of the best set up men in the league?”

      Here’s the bottom line- Bruney is better than what we currently have in that role by a long shot.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Who said he’s “one of the best set up men in the league?”

        Brian Bruney is one of the best set up men in the league.

        There, I said it.

        • Axl

          Think the Rays will trade us Ben Zobrist for Jeter if we eat Jeter’s salary? After all, Zobrist is the best player to ever live. Plus he had that fairly new movie out…”Don’t Mess With A Zobrist”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15305165&ref=profile Doug

            instantcrickets.com

    • Nady Nation

      This SSS preaching comes from the same guy who, slightly above in this very thread, believes Wang cannot and will not be an effective starter, because of 5 bad starts in an otherwise stellar career. Makes plenty of sense to me.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        It’s Axl. I just ignore him altogether now. Best advice Joe ever gave me.

        • UWS

          That’s great advice. I should heed it as well.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      You of all people are complaining about sample size when you are quick to make a decision of Melancon! Hypocrite much?

  • Tripp

    Would the 13 man bullpen not have been so bad for the 9 games they play in the NL? I mean without a DH there will be an extra fielder on the bench to pinch hit regardless.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Meh, not enough innings to go around in the 8 man bullpen. Guys will get rusty.

  • JP

    If Bruney is healthy, he will be good. I’m not expecting Madson or Rivera level work from him, but he’s good.

    Veras _is_ salvageable. Nobody with that kind of stuff is a total write off. Not saying it’s going to happen, but it could happen.

    I think Veras’s problems fall into the realm of things which can be learned, but can’t be taught. In other words, the guy needs to figure out himself how to throw strikes. There is only so much you can do tweaking someone’s arm angle or leg drive or whatever. At some point, you have to swing the hammer and hit the nail instead of your thumb. He is capable of doing it. Maybe he’s hurting and not saying anything. Who knows…

    • JGS

      Everyone seems to take it as a given that if they DFA Veras, they would lose him, but has anyone picked up Daniel Cabrera since the Nats let him go? 28 year old with great stuff but no control…sound familiar?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Daniel Cabrera’s career ERA+ is 89. He’s never had a single season ERA+ over 100.

        Veras had an ERA+ of 124 just last year. His career ERA+ is 101. It’s safe to say there would be more teams willing to bet on Jose Veras than Daniel Cabrera right now.

        • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

          I DON’T BELIEVE YOU! VERAS SUUUUUUUCKS!

        • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

          Not to mention Veras’ stuff didn’t suddenly disappear whereas Daniel Cabrera’s vanished last season and got worse this year.

          So yes, if D-Cab could still throw 95+ someone would probably pick him up.

  • Dave

    If we release Veras, I’m 95% certain he turns into Latroy Hawkins v2.0. That would make me a Sad Panda.

    • ArodMVP217 FTW!

      na, Hawkins had a pretty flat fb

      • Jamal G.

        He means that Veras would start pitching well right after he is released, a la LaTroy Hawkins circa 2008-2009.

        • whozat

          Well, if he goes to the NL central or west…that could certainly happen.

          • Andy

            Look at Veras’ minor league numbers. Look at his delivery. Look at his age. You don’t just learn to throw strikes at age 28. You can hide your suckiness for a little while by having a good run (like his first half last year), but he has never been able to throw strikes, and has never really put up good numbers, anywhere. What people forget is there are a million guys with better stuff than Veras who never make it. Not understanding that it takes more than stuff to be successful blinds you to the truth, which is that Veras is highly unlikely to ever be a consistently good pitcher in the major leagues.

            Personally, I’d rather DFA Veras, not because he is any worse than Tomko, but because his stuff keeps you going to the well for far too long, and in the end hurts the team and the development of far superior pitchers like Melancon. Veras will always be a guy that makes you cringe in a big spot, that will never change. Get rid of him now, let him be someone else’s headache.

            And one final thought – using the fact that you are scared that someone else will resurrect him as an excuse to keep him is plain STUPID. The chances he gets “resurrected” are slim to say the least, and the chances the guy you replace him with (eventually), Melancon, will be solid, are much greater. Take the higher probability approach, and you can always live with the result. The simple fact is that replacing Veras with Melancon has a much higher probability of improving your pen than keeping Veras. If Veras succeeds elsewhere, good for him, but it doesn’t make your decision to dump him wrong.

  • Rob in CT

    I hope Bruney can stay healthy this time. His improved command made him into a really useful pitcher.

    I really hope Wang can turn things around, but I worry that what he really needs is ~10 starts in the minors (which can’t happen w/o getting him through waivers, right?). His velocity is back, but he’s still all over the place.

    • JP

      *coughSteveBlasscough*

  • Joe LA

    With the Buchholz injury in Colorado, Street doesn’t seem as likely a possibility. Ben on MLBTR noted that the Rockies have boosted their playoff odds from 5 to 21%, so barring a major crash, they probably won’t be looking to give up their best remaining reliever this year.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....pdate.html

    If the Yanks can still manage to get Street, that’s awesome, but with the Rox on a steady rise it just seems like it would cost a whole lot more to pry him away at this point.

    • Joe LA

      And the fact that they’re in the middle of an 11 game winning streak is made all the more impressive by the fact that they lost Buchholz who had a 212 ERA+ before his injury.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Which brings us back to Jose Valverde. Who, unlike Huston Street, is making 8M this year on an Astros team that will still end up being sellers. And, now that he’s healthy again, he’ll be on the block in no time.

        If we eat all his salary, maybe he can be had for non-McAllister prices…

        • ChrisS

          $8 mill for a reliever would hopefully be at Grant Duff prices.

        • MattG

          Houston never thinks they’re out of it. Never ever.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            That’s true. Which is why they won’t deal Oswalt, Tejada, Byrdak, etc.

            But, they have no affinity for Valverde, and I could see them moving him and his bloated salary while still retaining LaTroy Hawkins as their new closer and still competing.

            The Astros moving Valverde would be like the Sox moving Penny. They view him as superfluous and expensive. Trim the fat while still trying to win.

            • JP

              TSJC writes: …Trim the fat…

              As I said yesterday: body habitus-ist.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                You know, for a fat chick, you don’t sweat that much.

  • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

    The Rockies have won 11 in a row, how long before they’re fooled into thinking they’re buyers for this year instead of sellers and Street isn’t even an option?

    • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

      I maybe should have read the comment directly above mine before I made it…

  • MattG

    For the Yankees, Qualls >>> Street. With Cano playing very well, Jeter playing passably, and Teixeira vacuuming everything, I want Qualls’ 20% advantage in GB rate. True Street does strike out nearly 2 per 9 more, but Qualls can miss bats, too. Qualls walks 1 per 9 less, and most importantly, he is older. This is a GOOD thing, because his value in trade is cheaper. Arizona being out of it adds to this.

    On the business side, Street’s going to make $7+ in arbitration next year, so your not offering arb to him. Qualls will make < $4m, so you can offer him arb and get a pick, or just keep him if he accepts.

    Qualls will pitch just as well as Street, cost less to acquire, and bring the team options for 2010. He’s the better option.

    • whozat

      Hasn’t Qualls been battling forearm tightness all season, though?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      All excellent points.

      I think the only question I have is, regarding Qualls, since he is older, at what point does he start to lose his stuff?

      It might be worth it to give up more for Street and resign him long-term to be a fixture in the pen for the next few years. Just thinking out loud here, not married to anything yet.

      • whozat

        Does that make sense? Trading for a reliever, even one like Street, to be a fixture? Also…why would he sign an extension to be a setup guy? He’ll want to close so that he can get that premium on his next contract.

        I don’t think he’d sign long-term, and I’m not convinced that he’s so much better than internal options that I want to trade my #6 starter for 2010 and another arm for him.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Well, if Street comes here at pitches well, I’ll let him throw his hat into the ring for the chance to replace Mo when Mo retires. He’s not gonna be around forever, you know.

          • Steve in PDX

            “He’s not gonna be around forever, you know.”

            BLASPHEMY!!!

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              He’s needed back in Heaven. It’s gone to seed while he’s been down here.

          • JP

            My thinking exactly. I like Street over Qualls.

      • Jamal G.

        Well, he is just in his age-30 season, and since he’s such an insane sinker-ball specialist (4.17 GB/FB ratio and he gets ground-balls 2/3 of the time), his velocity isn’t a major factor.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          True, good point. I have liked Qualls even from back with the Astros.

          It’s probably just the siren song of Street’s 1983 birthday that keeps calling to me. My baseball people love Street’s age. They keep saying “Huston Street, Huston Street!”

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Wow, Jeter is playing more than “passably” right now. His UZR/150 is up to 6.1 (!). Cano, meanwhile, is down to -5.8 UZR/150, which is highly disappointing. Tex has gotten back on the positive side of things, though, bringing his UZR/150 total to 1.2.

  • Melissa Cole

    “aformentioned”…. such a Michael Kay word…

    • Axl

      Melissa, what are you doing later tonight…

      • radnom

        Creepster

  • Axl

    So everybody in here wants The Wanger instead of Phil Pubes to start? Wang can throw side sessions and come out of the bullpen and build up his “arm strength” as people used as an excuse last time. This time around I’m hearing people say his mechanics are perfect while his velocity is also fine. He’s just coincidentially still getting beaten like Ike beat Tina. I don’t buy it. He’s favoring his other foot or something. He’s fearful that he might re-injure the foot again…which is an irrational fear since him performing horribly might actually be WORSE than him being on the DL.

    • V

      I want the Yankees to exhaust any chance of fixing Wang, because a healthy, back-in-form Wang improves the chances of the Yankees making the playoffs and winning the World Series, this year and next.

      Postponing Hughes back to the rotation also serves a secondary purpose of postponing him being shut down due to an innings cap.

      Hughes isn’t going anywhere. If Wang can’t get back into form, Hughes will take his spot. One game will not be the difference in the Yankees making the playoffs or not (it could be the difference in the division, however).

      • ChrisS

        I doubt Hughes will prematurely reach his innings cap. He’s been yanked around enough this season that reaching ~180 +/- before playoff baseball is pretty remote. He’d have to average almost 7IP/game from here to the end of the season.

      • NHYankee62

        Well said V.

        I agree 100% that getting the old Wang greatly improves our chances this year.

        Good point about postponing Hughes innings cap. The only trick will be deciding whether or not/ or how to keep Hughes stretched out should Wang return back to form. That will be a good problem to have.

    • MattG

      “The Wanger” and “Phil Pubes.” It’s like a Beavis and Butthead episode.

    • JP

      “…He’s just coincidentially still getting beaten like Ike beat Tina. I don’t buy it. He’s favoring his other foot or something. He’s fearful that he might re-injure the foot again…which is an irrational fear since him performing horribly might actually be WORSE than him being on the DL…”

      Or, he’s just losing it. *coughSteveBlasscough* Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and it doesn’t come back. I just a fan and have never been a playah at anything other than kid level, so I’ll happily admit to being a complete idiot if Wang turns it around. But my sense is people are looking at this thing waaaay too optimistically. Are there any other examples of pitchers doing something like this – going from being a relatively dominant pitcher, to completely ineffective, and then returning to form?

      I can’t think of any. Please, someone, give me an example.

      I like his sinker in the bullpen.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        going from being a relatively dominant pitcher, to completely ineffective, and then returning to form?

        CMW had a freak foot injury and since that injury, hasn’t been able to remaster his repeatable delivery, causing him to throw 21 shitty innings.

        Still, though, it’s 21 shitty innings. That’s it. That’s way too soon to label him “completely ineffective”.

        And the Steve Blass comp is horrible. Blass’s loss of control wasn’t immediately preceded by an injury. Blass’s control problems were WORSE than Wang’s, and there was no logical reason to explain them. Wang’s stuff is there and he’s locating it, just not all that consistently, but compared to Steve Blass, 2009 CMW still looks like Greg Maddux. He’s not really that far off.

        • JP

          Are you interested in investment property? I have some if you are.

          /feeble sarcastic humor

          I hope you are right, my friend. That’s certainly a logical reply to my post. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

          One thing which worries me is that he had some pretty shitty outings last May, and there was some discussion then as to what was wrong with him…he seemed to have fixed it before the injury, but there was some concern.

  • ChrisS

    When the bullpen is the least of the Yankees issues, it’s going to be a good year. However, I’d like to see the minors topped off with some prospects. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), the Yankees are rarely sellers and won’t part ways with any of The Core™ until they’re way past prime, at which point they get keys to the offices and a job with the team.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Whom exactly would you like us to trade for prospects to “top off the minors”?

      • ChrisS

        I can’t write down what I’m thinking because I would be crucified by the masses.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          No, no, come on, let’s hear it.

          Don’t be shy.

          • radnom

            He probably means Pettite.

            Maybe Jeter.

        • Nady Nation

          What, trade Jeter or Posada? Good luck finding takers for them. Or did you wanna trade them at some point over the past 5 years when the team was in position to make the playoffs every season, while they were both integral parts of the team’s success?

      • radnom

        The Core™

        Duhhhhhhhhh.

        ‘Cause late 30’s players making double digit salaries are in high demand right now.

  • Joba-to-the-pen

    Mike Axisa:

    Wow you are so blind.Have you watched the Yankees bullpen.Can you stop being those bloggers who get on a relievers bandwagon when he pitches two good games then impodes the next game.(Aceves,Tomko,Hughes,Melchon,Edwar Rameriez,Veras and Bruney)

    We don’t even know how long Bruney arm can hold or if he can pitch a full year…which he hasn’t.And everybody else has been journeymen.Guys who only play for two years of ineffective pitching then get thrown to the minors(Edwar Ramirez,soon Veras,Melchon).

    Please don’t write a post about the pitching staff and say there good when there not.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Was that English?

      • JP

        Their was sum english their, yes.

    • radnom

      Melchon

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Seriously, is “Ramirez” that hard to spell? That name is everywhere. What percent of Americans don’t personally know somebody with the last name “Ramirez”, like, 5, 10 percent?

        It’s like Smith, or Jones.

        • Joe R

          He’s a terriost. What do you expect?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Heh.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        And, Mark Melancon’s name was spelled correctly SEVEN TIMES in this post. Seven. Just scroll up and cut and paste it if you can’t think of how to spell it correctly. Come on, show a little effort.

    • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

      I love lamp.

    • ChrisS

      The Yankee bullpen stats by month were in the original post, I’d take a glance back through it if I were you.

      For me, this sequence of numbers gives me confidence in the bullpen: 120, 117, 102.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Yeah because Joba = bullpen right?

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Please don’t try to write cohesive and intelligible sentences in English when you cannot.

    • jsbrendog

      BANGWAGON OAKTAG

  • ledavidisrael

    and such a move would have me seriously questioning the front office’s desire to field the best team.

    • ledavidisrael

      ability to evaluate their own team.

  • dkidd

    imho, there is no need to add street/qualls/valverde

    if the starters pitch more than 5 innings a game, this is a great bullpen

    • ledavidisrael

      yeah but it wouldn’t hurt either..

      Their is a reason insurance company’s make a lot of money.

      Sometimes you gotta pay for the peace of mind.

      Feel me?

  • ledavidisrael

    Post Season Bullpen??

    1) Mo
    2) Bruney
    t3) Aceves
    t3) Robertson
    t3) Coke
    6) Joba/hughes
    longman to Joba Hughes

    Starting Rotation
    CC Sabathia
    A J Burnett
    Andy Pettite
    Chien Mien Wang

    SO Dirty if Pettite and Wang are them selves..

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      You left out Marte. And, if Melancon comes back up and pitches well, I’d give Joba’s spot to him and do the safe thing and shut Joba down.

      • JP

        No way they shut Joba down in the playoffs. He is available, and probably pitches.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          No way they shut Joba down in the playoffs.

          Saying it emphatically doesn’t make it necessarily true. You think there’s no way they shut Joba down. I think there is. It’s firmly within the realm of possibility. I think it makes great logical sense, personally.

          We shall see what happens.

          • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

            I have said since ST, and I have not changed my view since: If Joba stays so healthy and effective that he can reach his innings limit, I think there is a real chance that the Yanks will shut him down.

            I’m with you, tsjc.

            • jsbrendog

              thirded

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I’m with you, tsjc.

              And you’re with me, Leather.

              • ledavidisrael

                what about giving marte cokes spot?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  The point of retaining Marte was to have two lefties and not just one. As long as they’re healthy, both Coke and Marte are in the postseason pen.

                  In fact, providing good health, all these guys are locks for the postseason staff:
                  1) CC
                  2) AJ
                  3) Pettitte
                  4) _______
                  ———
                  5) Mo
                  6) Bruney
                  7) Marte
                  8) Coke
                  9) Aceves
                  10) ________
                  11) ________

                  That last starter spot is Wang’s if he’s good to go. The last two bullpen spots are the only two up for grabs, and Robertson has pitched well enough to get one of them, leaving only one for Joba/Hughes/Melancon/Veras/Edwar/Albaladejo/etc.

                  My guess is, Hughes gets it since he’s got a higher innings cap. I’d say we’re looking at a CC-AJ-Wang-Pettitte rotation and a Mo-Bruney-Marte-Coke-Aceves-Robertson-Hughes bullpen for the playoffs.

              • JP

                Well all of you just have a group hug then.

                Saying it emphatically doesn’t make it necessarily true.

                Nothing around here is “true,” only opinions. What’s wrong with being emphatic now and then? I’ll take emphatic over phlegmatic, any day.

  • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

    I know, I’m not supposed to do this, but everyone needs to watch this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....16163.html

    Artie Lang DESTROYS, DE-FUCKING-STROYS Joe Buck. It’s priceless.

    • Stryker

      artie lang is still alive?

  • Surry

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/fan_forum/chat.jsp

    Today, Mlb hosting chat with Damon Oppenheimer, senior vice president and scouting director for the Yankees, will chat with fans today at 2 p.m. ET

  • kunaldo

    anybody else hear that robertson is the favorite to be sent down?? i will be really pissed if that is the case

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Well, that sucks, but sadly I can’t say I’m super surprised.

      • kunaldo

        apparently the source is the post…hopefully it’s a bad rumor

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          It was GAKIII speculation.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Oh, then… nevermind.

            • kunaldo

              yeah, then i apologize for even bringing it up

  • NHYankee62

    Very well written article Mike.

    The bullpen numbers pretty much say it all:

    6.46 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in April to 4.04 & 1.39 in May to 3.29 & 1.17 in June.

    The key going forward will be Bruney’s ability to stay healthy and actually speak up next time he feels discomfort.

    This post makes me feel pretty good after hearing how much better Boston’s bullpen was and how weak the Yankees pen was. Made me insane to hear them parrot that on 1050 last week. Suddenly there doesn’t seem to be such a large gap anymore.

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