Pondering Penny, again

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Yesterday afternoon, following the Yanks’ loss to the Rangers, Mike reported that the Yankees were interested in Brad Penny. While early reports indicated that Penny may have promised the Red Sox that he would not sign with an AL East competitor following his release, George A. King III disputed those stories. Penny is free to go where he wants.

While the Yankees could use Penny to fill a fifth starter spot currently split between Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre — or the fourth starter spot with Joba in limbo — the Yankees aren’t the only team interested in Penny. According to MLB.com, the Rockies, Marlins, Rays, White Sox and Rangers are all considering Penny as well. It must feel good to be wanted.

For their part, the Yankees offered up some qualified “He’s better than Sergio Mitre” praise for Penny. “He’s got good stuff,” Johnny Damon said to King. “His secondary stuff might need a little tweak but his fastball was electric, it cut and he hit his spots with it. Bring him here, why not? I love the way the guy competes.”

Yankee fans, on the other hand, have seen Penny twice this year, and most of us probably aren’t that impressed. On July 11, Penny threw probably his best start of the season and beat the Yanks. He tossed six shut-out innings and allowed six hits and a walk while striking out five. On August 21, in his last Boston start, Penny gave up eight runs on 10 hits and a walk in four innings of work. This effort capped a five-start run in which Penny went 1-4 with a 9.11 ERA. Opponents are hitting .333/.397/.595 off Penny during this stretch.

So why are the Yankees interested? Well, as I mentioned, Penny would be better than Mitre. This stretch notwithstanding, Penny’s numbers — 7-8, 5.61 ERA — aren’t as bad as they seem. Penny’s BABIP is an absurd .327 even though his line drive and HR rates are in line with league averages. Why the high BABIP? Well, the Red Sox’s defense is terrible. Their team UZR is -22.2, worse only than the Royals, Orioles, Twins and Indians in the AL. Combine that defense with a little bit of bad luck, and you get an underperforming pitcher.

Right now, Penny’s FIP stands 4.58 with an xFIP of 4.96. That’s tolerable, and Penny won’t give the Yankees innings — he hasn’t pitched out of the 6th yet this year — he’ll give them some back-end stability as the team looks to get their rotation in line for October. If the Yanks sign Penny to the league minimum, they won’t expect much, but they don’t need much. Six innings of 4.58 ERA baseball would be a-OK with me.

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Report: Angels on the verge of landing Kazmir
  • Iowa Yank

    LOL even Johnny’s response is what the hell? he’s gotta be better than Mitre/Gaudin

    • louis

      i guess you guys didnt see mitre’s gem he pitched today

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

    “I love the way the guy competes” = “This guy sucks balls, but there’s other guys on the team who also suck balls and this new guy might possibly suck balls slightly less than the schmoes we already have that suck balls, so… whatevs.”

    Sincerely,
    Johnny Damon

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

    Why the high BABIP? Well, the Red Sox’s defense is terrible.

    Mainstream media, YOU LIED TO ME!!!!!!!

    • http://www.twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

      I don’t believe it. The grit is almost palpable, which of course leads to stellar blue-collar defense. My eyes, seeing through the grit, shall not deceive me!

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

        Jason Bay is Canadian. That means he must have won at least 10 Gold Gloves by now. I remember them like they were yesterday.

        • Tom Zig

          No but the Sox have had 10 different shortstops in the past 365 days

          • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

            holy crap. even if you made up that number, it sounds believable…

    • Tom Zig

      UZR is crazy over analyzed stat that was created by a Yankee Homer

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

        UZR stands for BrosiUs-RiZZuto-Randolph. Keep it under your hat.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Until you see Ellsbury’s UZR. Then it is 100 percent accurate.

  • Mike HC

    The biggest upside to Penny will be in the bullpen for the playoffs. He would most likely be excellent going for just one inning and also have the ability to go two or three if the situation calls for it.

    As a fifth starter, I think he will essentially give us what Mitre and Gaudin can do. I don’t really see the downside if we can get him. If he wants to play for the Yanks, sign him up. I don’t think he does though. He will use the Yanks to get more money from an NL team, but who knows. I hope he signs with us.

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

      The biggest upside to Penny will be in the bullpen for the playoffs. He would most likely be excellent going for just one inning and also have the ability to go two or three if the situation calls for it.

      I don’t think I can agree with that opinion.

      • Mike HC

        You don’t think he would be effective in the pen? Why not?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      I don’t think he can really expect to get more than the league minimum. The Sox are already on the hook for his entire contract, and he’s not good enough to demand more.

      • Mike HC

        true

  • Dela G

    i guess i’d be ok if he never faces the red sox or any other good team

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

    We can use the class, toughness and tradition Brad Penny brings. This current Yankee team lacks someone like him, everyone is overpaid primadonna.

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

      You’re absolutely right.

      I can only assume you’re talking about the class, toughness, and tradition Penny acquired from his stint playing for the premium team of our times, the 2003 Florida Marlins. Because all the other teams Penny’s ever played for blow chunks.

      Yeah, I said it.

  • Free Mike Vick

    Please make this happen, Cash…please

  • http://www.twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

    Penny has thrown 72.4% fastballs, and 17.5% curveballs this year while mixing in a splitter and slider here and there.

    Problem is his fastball is valued at -1.6 and a his curveball whopping -16.0!

    He basically needs to abandon his curve for the year and throw more splitters and sliders. He also apparently has abandoned his changeup, which was a better than average (+2.2 last year) pitch.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      So it basically sounds as though Damon is right. His secondary stuff needs some tweaks.

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

        Let’s move Jorge Posada to LF and have Johnny catch. He actually understands pitches and gamecalling.

        • http://www.twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

          As long as Cervelli can catch C.C. every five days, I’ll sign on for that.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          Johnny learned the sacred art of game calling from the Master himself, Captain Tek.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

      He probably won’t be much good anyway, having altered his entire pitching approach in the last week of August. But, yeah, he’ll be better than Mitre. But that’s like saying Jason Schmidt should be better than Mike Maroth.

  • gio

    If the Angels were interested in Penny, you can take them off the list. According to MLBTR, they’re ‘on the verge” of acquiring Kazmir for two prospects. They now officially scare me in the postseason.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      How would Kazmir make it through waivers? That doesn’t make sense to me. Even if I’m the friggin Royals, I drop a claim on that!

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Seriously.
        There’s no way virtually every other team in the league passes him up.

      • Tampa Yankee

        Per Cot’s:

        3 years/$28.5M (2009-11), plus 2012 club option:

        09:$6M, 10:$8M, 11:$12M, 12:$13.5M club option ($2.5M buyout)
        $0.8M bonus if traded (for first trade only)
        perks: use of luxury suite for 5 home games per season (nice!)

        • Tampa Yankee

          But seriously, how do the Red Sox or Rangers not make that claim?

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

            Because there’s oodles and oodles of better ways to spend 23.3M over the next two years besides Scott Kazmir, who has looked like crap for a while now.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

      Nah. Kazmir isn’t the Kazmir of yesteryear. Not like he’d be the ace of the staff if he goes to LAA.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Got it. Let’s move the Kazmir talk to this thread, and keep these comments focused on Brad Penny.

  • DCR

    It couldn’t hurt to bring Penny in.

  • http://www.twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

    After this afternoon’s developments, as in 5 min ago, I vote yes on Penny.

  • Tank Foster

    “Good” for a fifth starter is not measured in ERA, wins, or anything other than EFFICIENCY.

    I don’t care if his ERA is 7, if he’s efficient enough to last 6 innings before reaching his pitch limit, he’s a great 5th starter.

    The idea is, can you get enough innings from a 5th starter so as to save the bullpen.

    No doubt in my mind Penny is an upgrade over Mitre and Gaudin in this regard.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      …so didnt you just measure it in innings?

      :)

      …and ruthless efficiency.

      the THREE main weapons of the Span…

      • Tank Foster

        Heh….yeah, innings is a surrogate for efficiency, when pitchers are on pitch limits.

  • Whitey14

    Just my opinion,

    Bay/Damon = push
    Ellsbury/Cabrera = edge to Cabrera because of his arm.
    Drew/Swisher = slight edge to Drew, but both make me laugh at times.
    Lowell/Arod = push, traditionally I would have taken Mike Lowell over Arod, but they both have the hip thing going on.
    Gonzalez/Jeter = Jeter, this year
    Pedrioa/Cano = slight edge to Pedroia (who can catch pop-ups)
    Teixeira/Youkilis = slight edge to Teixeira
    Varitek/Martinez/Posada = Varitek calls a great game, can’t throw, Martinez doesn’t have any marketable defensive skills I can think of, Posada has never impressed me defensively, but does seem to have a bit better arm than the Sox Cachers = push, I don’t think it’s a strength for either team.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      …are you a troll or ARE YOU HIGH??!!

      slight edge to tex over yook?

      you equate or ignore posada’s bat vs tek?

      you completely ignored Godzilla vs Big Slopi?

      i’m gonna feel like such an idiot when you reveal this was a joke, but its like an eye high first pitch fastball to bad robbie–i cant stop myself.

      • Whitey14

        Sorry, I thought it was clear I was referring to defense.

        And I think I’ve been here long enough to not qualify as a Troll, plus I live in a house, not under a bridge so that has to help me ;-)

        If I was speaking on an all-around level, offense and defense included I would have said;

        Bay/Damon = push, although both have a short porch to aim for.
        Ellsbury/Cabrera = Ellsbury and to me it’s not even close
        Drew/Swisher = push, both great at getting on base, but both streaky as hell, and defensively neither will make you forget Dwight Evans any time soon
        Lowell/ARod = ARod, but not by as much this season
        Gonzalez/Jeter = Jeter by a mile
        Pedroia/Cano = edge to Cano
        Youkilis/Teixeira = slight edge to Teixeira

        • Whitey14

          Also, I’ll take Martinez over Posada every day of the week because offense is more important than defense and the offensive gap is also wider than the defensive gap in my opinion. Varitek can call the games from the dugout for all I care.

          Ortiz/Matsui, Matsui has an edge, this season, so far….