Yanks could go 13 pitchers for next 10 games


On Tuesday, we got the latest word in the Damaso Marte saga: the lefty could rejoin the team in Boston this evening. Yes, Joe Girardi said “might,” but why would he say it at all unless it was the likely move? Marte, if healthy, could even further upgrade a bullpen that’s been among the best in the league over the last few months. In fact, because the bullpen has been so good, and because the Yankees need some extra arms in order to accommodate Joba Chamberlain‘s innings limit, they might have some difficulty shuffling things around in order to make room for Marte.

The only two options for demotion in the pen are David Robertson and Phil Coke. Robertson’s been pitching awful well lately, and it’s doubtful he goes at this point. Coke has had his struggles, but he’s also been an effective option out of the pen. Plus, both Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman have expressed their desire to have two lefty options, something they’ve essentially lacked all season. With Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre needed in the rotation, it looks like no one on the pitching staff will get demoted.

That leaves one name: Ramiro Pena. He’s a useful player to have around. He can play all around the infield, and the Yanks think he can handle the outfield. His bat isn’t anything to brag about, but he doesn’t look completely lost up there. He can also pinch run. In other words, he’s a serviceable utility guy. The Yankees have another player like that, Jerry Hairston, and they might opt to use just one utility player for the rest of August rather than deplete their pitching staff.

Thankfully, the month is almost over. The Yanks play three in Fenway, then have a day off before playing the final seven games of the month. After that they can have up to 40 men on the active roster, meaning they can recall Pena if they so desire. It might hurt to have a short bench, but it’s only for 10 games. With the off-days surrounding the Boston series, the starters should be fresh enough to handle it. Even if they’re not, the Yanks can deploy super-sub Hairston.

The most interesting part of the next 10 games will be how the Yankees use Marte. No, they won’t use him in a tight spot over the weekend, but they’ll have to get him some work so they can gauge how useful he’ll be down the stretch. We’ve been saying it since the man went on a rehab assignment: a healthy Marte makes this bullpen perhaps the best in the league.

Categories : Death by Bullpen
  • AndrewYF

    They could DL Aceves. He could probably use the time off anyway.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      True, but even if they did, I’d still like to see them carry 13 pitchers for a little while. As Joe noted, a bench of Molina-Hinske-Hairston is enough to cover us for a week or two, so we can afford to give the 25th spot on the roster to a pitcher instead of a position player, and we can use the extra pitching depth to lift our Big 4 starters earlier (or absorb potential bad outings by Mitre or Gaudin) to keep them fresh.

      If we DL Aceves, I’d like to see both Marte and Melancon up with the club. 6 man rotation, 7 man bullpen.

  • monkeypants

    The Yankees have another player like that, Jerry Hairston, and they might opt to use just one utility player for the rest of August rather than deplete their pitching staff.

    I’m not sure how going with 12 pitchers equates to “depleting their pitching staff.

    With Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre needed in the rotation, it looks like no one on the pitching staff will get demoted.

    This boggles my mind.

    • Ed

      I’m not sure how going with 12 pitchers equates to “depleting their pitching staff.

      The current plan is to put large gaps between Joba’s starts, using 6 pitchers in the rotation instead of 5. That leaves the bullpen one man short.

      Considering his issues this year, Marte will become the last option in the bullpen until he proves himself worthy of a better role. If they demote a pitcher to fit him on the staff, they would be demoting someone they are more likely to use than Marte. You’ve created a situation where the bullpen is a man short, and the last option in the pen is weaker than the next to last option was before they started playing games in the bullpen.

      Ramiro Pena gets negligible playing time right now, and is only really required if both Jeter and Cano get hurt in the same game, hence the idea to demote him instead.

    • Jamal G.

      If you would stop looking at the situation in a vacuum and and understand what the post is saying, you would see how sticking with 12 pitchers in bringing back Damaso Marte would “deplete [the] pitching staff.”

      The pitching staff would be depleted because every pitcher on the active roster has a pretty significant use, and thus, removing any one of them for a guy who has not seen a Major League mound in a third of a year would weaken it in any sense.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


        Not seeing the potential strategic benfit of demoting Peña rather than Mitre, Gaudin, Aceves, or Coke when Marte is activated?

        THAT’S what “boggles my mind”. It’s pretty straightforward and clear.

        • Say Hey Willie

          It’s mind bottling.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


            Nancy Kerrigan, are you an official here? Because you’ve officially given me a BONER!

        • Monkeypants

          They have rarely deployed all twelve pitchers they have, so I’m sure why there is a need to carry an extra pitcher to make up for the loss of one (which isn’t really a loss, because his use is simply being stretched over more days).

          That the team would go with a short bench because they need to keep both Mitre and Gaudin on the roster is what boggles my mind. Or, rather, it is mind boggling that a pitcher truly horrible as Mitre has been can manage to keep a roster spot, stay in the rotation (in some form) and push even a marginally useful player off the roster.

          My solution would be to DFA Mitre to make room for the “extra reliever”, and if yet another starter is needed, find someone–anyone–at AAA. I say this because Mitre’s “performance” is almost surely replaceable by anyone on the farm. I mean, just about anyone can go out and stink it up for four innings.

  • Doug

    “No, they won’t use him in a tight spot over the weekend”

    maybe not in the 8th, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see marte brought in to face ellsbury, drew, or ortiz with runners on in a tight game in the 6th or 7th.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Sox main lefties 2009 splits:

      .304/.343/.420 RHP, .288/.353/.379 LHP – Ellsbury
      .261/.378/.477 RHP, .221/.343/.349 LHP – Drew
      .223/.327/.410 RHP, .234/.302/.492 LHP – Ortiz
      .286/.359/.437 RHP, .253/.324/.316 LHP – Kotchman

      • Doug

        well, 3 out of 4 ain’t bad. and even though the #s suggest otherwise (well, at least the power #s), i’d still rather have a lefty in there vs. ortiz than a righty

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          No, I’m agreeing with you. In all four instances, you’d rather have Ellsbury, Drew, Ortiz, and Kotchman facing a lefty reliever rather than a righty reliever.

          I’ve got no problems letting either Coke or Marte pitch to one of those four in a LIPS.

          • Doug

            i know you were with me. was being sarcastic in my 1st sentence. guess i gotta work on that. :-)

  • Matt ACTY/BBD

    Sorry, Ramiro. It’s only business…not personal.

    • Doug

      well, it’s a little personal right. if were a better ballplayer, they’d never consider sending him down

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        The two things not in his favor:

        1) He’s not as good of a hitter as Hairston is
        2) Hairston is a vet who can’t be optioned

        • Doug


          also, even though pena has recently played a little OF, hairston has much more experience out there. in a pinch, you’d feel much more comfortable with him out there than pena.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        No, that’s still business. If Cash said to Ramiro “I wouldn’t send you down if I didn’t hate you so much and think you have no future in baseball,” then that would be personal. This is a simple roster construction move.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Hal: Alright, you demoted Peña and DFA’d Claggett, now what do you do?
          Cashman: Sit down and finish my dinner…

        • Say Hey Willie

          I’d like to keep you up with the big club . . . but your just so damn ugly.

        • Matt ACTY/BBD

          Kinda like he did to Melky last year? ;)

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    There’s 10 days left before rosters expand.

    Demote Peña now and activate Marte, carry 13 pitchers for 10 days. Then, Peña, Cervelli, Cash, Miranda, and Shelley will all be up here to give breathers to the position players, and Gardner should be right behind them.

    Bingo, bango. Problem solved.

    (Of course, if after the weekend we decided to also DL Aceves and DFA Cash or Claggett so that we could add one of the numerous other good young pitching options we have to our 40-man, like Z-Mac, Nova, Kroenke, Whelan, or one of the Fat Sanchezes, or promote one of the guys on our 40-man early, like WDLR, Dunn, so that the promoted pitcher would have a chance to be playoff eligible, I’ve got no problem with that as well.)

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      You don’t think Cash is gonna be DFA’d for A-Jax?

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Meh, I don’t think AJax really needs to be added. If our September roster includes Damon, Swisher, Melky, Gardner, Hinske, Hairston, and Shelley, plus the occasional Peña OF sighting, there’s not many innings for AJax.

        And, as useless as Cash is, having extra catchers is always nice.

        Put it this way, I wouldn’t be upset if we DFA’d Cash or Claggett for AJax, but I wouldn’t be upset if we didn’t either.

        • Matt ACTY/BBD

          That’s sound reasoning. OTOH, maybe you figure they do it now in early anticipation of the Rule V draft.

        • AndrewYF

          They’re not adding Cash. First of all, no team needs 4 catchers. Second of all, he’s injured.

          Also, I’m pretty sure Duncan isn’t on the 40-man roster. Not too sure if he’ll get called up.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Thanks, I forgot about Cash being injured. That makes it all the easier to DFA him for a pitcher.

            Shelley is on the 40-man, though. He’ll be here.

    • Ed

      or promote one of the guys on our 40-man early, like WDLR, Dunn, so that the promoted pitcher would have a chance to be playoff eligible

      Doesn’t matter. Nady and Wang can be replaced on the playoff roster with anyone that’s in the organization before the end of the month. I can’t imagine the team wanting 3 September call ups to make the postseason roster, unless of course someone else gets hurt, but that would give another opening.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Even if they have already been put on the 60-day in advance of the September 1 cutoff? Because both Nady and Wang are already 60-day’d.

        No snarkiness, sincerely asking.

        • Chris

          Any player on the 60-day DL as of Sept 1 can be replaced on the post season roster with any other player on the 40-man roster.

          Basically your playoff roster is the same as your roster on Sept 1, but then you can replace guys that are on the DL.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Okay, thanks.

            So, we’ll have two exemptions (for Nady and Wang) to add any two players not currently on our 25-man or 40-man to our postseason roster, if we so choose?

            In that case, I’m all for letting all those kids know that they have from now to mid-September to impress us enough to earn a callup, and if they pitch well when they get here in late September, they can earn a postseason bullpen spot.

            We have 2 spots currently available at the end of the 12-man postseason roster. Mitre, Gaudin, Marte, Melancon, Edwar, Albaladejo, Claggett, Dunn, WDLR, Nova, McAllister, Kroenke, Romulo, Humberto, Whelan, Hirsh, Texeira… whomever impresses the most out of the lot of you over the next six and a half weeks gets the last two spots.

            • K.B.D.

              Let’s go Mike Dunn. His K% makes me hot all over despite the fact he’s just as liable to walk someone.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Fun facts of the day:

                K/9 and BB/9 rates, selected Yankee relievers, 2009:
                14.05, 4.9 – David Robertson (MLB, AAA)
                12.68, 6.0 – Mike Dunn (AAA, AA)
                10.74, 4.2 – Edwar Ramirez (MLB, AAA)
                10.71, 5.4 – Kevin Whelan (AAA, AA)
                9.55, 4.0 – Brian Bruney (MLB, AAA, AA)
                8.78, 4.2 – Wilkins DeLaRosa (AA, A+)
                8.84, 4.8 – Romulo Sanchez (AAA)
                8.50, 3.5 – Damaso Marte (MLB, AAA, Rookie)
                8.28, 3.2 – Humberto Sanchez (AA, A+)
                6.90, 3.8 – Zack Kroenke (AAA)

                4.79, 4.2 – Anthony “Less useful than Cody Ransom” Claggett (MLB, AAA)

                • Tom Zig

                  Less useful than Cody Ransom

                  That’s possible?

                • K.B.D.

                  Looking at Humberto’s stats kind of makes you hopeful, doesn’t it?

                  I think WDLR makes a move to the bullpen next year. He’s got no third pitch to speak of and the clock on him is ticking since he’s been added to the 40-man.

                  The other thing Dunn has going for him (beyond his strikeouts) is his handedness. Hopefully he’ll be a more effective Phil Coke.

          • Ed

            Any player on the 60-day DL as of Sept 1 can be replaced on the post season roster with any other player on the 40-man roster.

            I believe that applies for the 15 day DL as well.

    • MattB

      Cash is injured and out for the year.

      Much like the IPK situation, because he was injured while not on the MLB roster, he can’t be placed on the 60 day. I’m not sure if he can be outright released, but I would imagine there’s something in the CBA precluding the release of an injured player. Much like the Kennedy and Christian Garcia spots, I don’t think the Cash one is something they can play around with too much right now.

      • Ed

        but I would imagine there’s something in the CBA precluding the release of an injured player.

        You can’t option an injured player to the minors. Not sure about outrighting someone to the minors. You can DFA or release them though – Boston DFA’d Jon Van Every earlier this year while he was on the 60 day DL.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yup. Cash can be drop-kicked through the goalposts of life whenever we feel the urge.

          Hold on, I’ll get Chad Ochocinco on the phone, gimme a sec.

        • MattB

          Thanks for the update on that.

          If that’s the case though, I wonder why they’ve been carrying his carcass for so long. He’s been injured for weeks now and could use the roster spot.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    In anticipation of Damaso coming back, look at this picture:

    4 great baseball players. 3 of them have struggled with injuries all year long.

    Thank Mo that Canó escaped.

    (crosses chest)

    • jsbrendog

      i assume thats marte hidden in the shadows all the way left

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


    • Jack

      Look at them all just sitting there. Lazy bastards.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Going through the motions and shit.

        • K.B.D.

          The sad part is they were playing Denmark and there were a ton of gritty ballplayers out there who just KNOW how to win whose picture didn’t get taken. It’s a shame really.

          And no, they probably weren’t playing Denmark but that was the whitest WBC team I could think of.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            They were playing The Netherlands, lead by His Excellency the Great Sir Sidney Ponson.

            I’m so disappointed that you didn’t know that.

            • Matt ACTY/BBD

              But didn’t the Netherlands have a bunch of guys from the islands who would also be lazy? I’d think those gritty South Africans or Australians would be the better contrast.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Yes, but a black guy named “Sharlon Schoop”? And white guys from “Haarlem”?

                That’s gotta be worth something.

            • K.B.D.

              Sidney Ponson is less gritty and more gutty.

              As in stomach.

              As in he’s fat.

              Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD


    • Tom Zig

      the WBC is as useful as tits on a bull

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