Pondering Penny, again


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, 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.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Iowa Yank says:

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

  2. “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.”

    Johnny Damon

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

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

  4. Mike HC says:

    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.

  5. Dela G says:

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

  6. OmgZombies! says:

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

  7. Free Mike Vick says:

    Please make this happen, Cash…please

  8. Jordan says:

    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.

  9. gio says:

    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.

  10. DCR says:

    It couldn’t hurt to bring Penny in.

  11. Jordan says:

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

  12. Tank Foster says:

    “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 says:

      …so didnt you just measure it in innings?


      …and ruthless efficiency.

      the THREE main weapons of the Span…

  13. Whitey14 says:

    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 says:

      …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 says:

        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 says:

          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….

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