Jun
13

Poll: Making room for David Robertson

By

(Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The Yankees have received some pretty stellar pitching over the last three weeks or so, and it’s about to get a whole lot better. David Robertson aced his second minor league rehab appearances yesterday afternoon, and afterward Joe Girardi confirmed that his top setup man will rejoin the team today and be activated off the DL on Friday. Cory Wade and Boone Logan have done a superb job setting up Rafael Soriano in recent weeks, but I think it’s safe to say we’ve all missed Robertson in the late innings.

Getting Robertson back on the roster won’t be a problem but the Yankees do have some roster flexibility and a number of different options. We know Wade, Logan, and Rafael Soriano aren’t going anywhere, but there’s a case to be made that everyone else in the bullpen should be replaced. Each has their own pros and cons, of course.

Cody Eppley
Sending Eppley back to Triple-A seems like the most obvious move since he’s been the designated up-and-down guy early this season. He hasn’t pitched great but he hasn’t been ineffective either — 3.55 ERA with a 4.55 FIP and a 67.5% ground ball rate — and lately Joe Girardi has been using him as a right-handed/ground ball specialist in the sixth and seventh innings. That’s the best way to use the sidewinder, though a ROOGY isn’t exactly the most efficient use of roster space. The Yankees could send Eppley down on Friday and call him up at a later point without a problem.

David Phelps
Do you know how long it’s been since Phelps has appeared in a game? Eleven days now. He hasn’t pitched since game two of the Tigers series in Detroit, when he started the bottom of the ninth inning in the eventual walk-off loss. Phelps has made two appearances totaling five outs in the last 20 days, and his brief warm-up session last night was the first time he’s even done that much since the Tigers’ game. The Yankees don’t need to carry two long-men and although Phelps has done nothing to lose his job — 2.94 ERA and 4.50 FIP — they could opt to send him to Triple-A to make sure he gets regulars innings as a starting pitcher. Winning is always the number one goal, but the Yankees could send him down to focus on his development without weakening the big league club.

(REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

Freddy Garcia
Since being banished to the bullpen, Sweaty Freddy has worked sparingly in mop-up duty. He missed a few days following the death of his grandfather but has otherwise appeared in just six of the club’s last 41 games, and only once in those six games was the score separated by fewer than three runs. It’s been pure mop-up work and is totally redundant with Phelps on the roster. Freddy has no trade value so the Yankees would have to just cut ties with him, a legitimate option but probably not the smartest thing in the world. Pitching depth has a way of disappearing quickly and Garcia can do a lot of different things if needed, particularly start.

Clay Rapada
Cutting Rapada was unlikely even before his recent stretch of solid pitching (despite a heavy workload). The Yankees obviously place some value on having two left-handers out in the bullpen given how much money they’ve spent on those guys in recent years, and for the most part Rapada has done the job. He is out of minor league options, so the Yankees wouldn’t be able to send him to the minors without first passing him through waivers. Rapada ain’t clearing waivers, I can promise you that.

* * *

The Yankees have enough bullpen depth that there’s no obvious candidate to go once Robertson is healthy. They’re going to shed one solid bullpen arm in favor of an elite reliever, and that’s pretty awesome. Since we polled you folks about replacing Brett Gardner internally yesterday, we might as well do the same for getting Robertson back on the roster.

How should the Yankees get Robertson back onto the active roster?
View Results
Categories : Death by Bullpen, Polls

84 Comments»

  1. Phelps: 0.1 IP since May 28. Not really sure why he’s still here even with D-Rob out.

    • BronxBombers98 says:

      I love how during the offseason Cashman said Noesi wasn’t going to be in his same role (Phelps’ role now) because of the lack of development. Gotta love how history repeats itself.

  2. Bavarian Yankee says:

    Phelps obviously, he isn’t getting any innings right now.

  3. Jordan says:

    Seems to me that the 8th inning last night would have been a perfect spot to use Phelps for short relief if they had any faith in him. If they aren’t going to use him there, send him down to AAA and let him get stretched back out as a starter.

    • Nick says:

      I’m not sure it’s necessarily a question of ‘faith’, the guy is just not a short reliever. With the rotation pitching well atm he is not getting any opportunities to come in in the 3rd or 4th for multiple innings. I agree that AAA is the best place for him right now so he can continue to develop with regular starts. He should then be the first guy up if the rotation starts to wobble or a starter goes down.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        He also got that one high-leverage situation and failed. It was only one shot, though, and I agree that it was one he may not be best suited for.

  4. jsbrendog says:

    remember when the trolls were clamoring for replacing phil with phelps? yeah, good times.

    • Hubward says:

      I laughed. Out loud.

      • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

        That would be “LOL”

        • Hubward says:

          Yeah was going for emphasis and pacing. Obviously didn’t cross the Atlantic as well as I hoped.

          Hughes put this one to bed & Phelps needs to be more than a bench warmer. Send him to AAA & see if we can get another Nova reaction

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      This non-troll briefly toyed with the idea. I’ll admit it.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Also toying with the idea: Michael Kay. Then again, I’ve never actually seen him and Duh Innings in the same room at the same time.

        • StanfordBen says:

          Nice one.

        • Ro says:

          I’m just happy that I wont ever have to hear Michael Kay talk about Arod and the grand slam thing again. Good lord, like nails on a chalk board hearing it every time Arod came to the plate with the bases loaded. Off subject, but wanted to slip that comment in..

    • Ro says:

      I’ll admit, I was one of the ones that said trade him to the Angels. I was also very vocal before the season that I expected a huge season from Hughes. I’m incredibly happy with his recent results, but man, is he frustrating to forecast before a start. The guy is a front line pitcher so let’s just hope he keeps his shit together. I absolutely credit Pettitte with his progress. Shockingly (there doesn’t seem to be a stat for this), but pitching before/after Pettitte in 2010, Hughes was very good. 2011 no Pettitte, no results, and he freaking sucked. Now Pettitte is back and they are pitching in sequence again and Hughes once again is a very good pitcher. It’s just an odd thing that I noticed. Not sure if it means anything.

  5. Leg-End says:

    Phelps, let him go and get some innings at AAA and he might come back a more useful tool.

  6. vin says:

    Score another one for Phelps’ demotion. It just makes too much sense.

  7. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    Phelps.
    I wouldn’t mind sending eppley down as he doesn’t have too much to offer, but doesn’t make sense to carry 2 long men-don’t want to cut freddy and its in phelps best interest to get regular starts and develop.

  8. Smart Guy says:

    i hate how they are treating Phelps, he should go down, be a starter and then at least trade him to a team that gives him more of a chance

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Have some patience.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      The chance will come when there’s at least two open rotation slots next year. You have to think he gets one of the first looks at this point.

      • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

        I’m not so sure how many open roster spots there will be for SP next year. The austerity budget doesn’t begin next year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if our rotation next year is exactly the one we have now, assuming Kuroda and Pettitte both want to return. For the moment, I think they will, and I think the Yanks will want them back assuming they continue to perform more or less as they have. Add in the return of Pineda, and I’m not sure how many SP spots will really be in play.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Kuroda seemed to be a one-and-done deal to me.

          I can’t speak for Andy Pettitte, but his interviews make him sound like a guy who would be just fine returning home in 2013. 50/50 at best, but that’s just tea leaf reading.

          Pineda’s readiness to resume throwing every five days effectively in the majors at the start of the season definitely remains to be seen. Cross your fingers there.

          I’m not counting on anyone currently not in the organization. Anyone’s guess is as good as mine there.

          Two rotation spots. You have to think that, elbow-permitting, Banuelos will be at the front of the line as far as getting that look, but that Phelps will be right behind him.

          • yoo-boo says:

            For Banuelos’ sake, he needs to have 4 solid starters and Yanks are winning. Banuelos is not ready for an every 5th start.

            I will go with Warren or Phelps first.

            Sabby. Workhorse.
            Hughes. Strong but need more effective.
            Nova. Strong but need more consistency.
            Pineda. Shoulder question.

            Unless Yanks make several key trades to bolster the rotation, Banuelos can’t be in this rotation.

            • vin says:

              Sabby? Please don’t let Girardi read that.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              Four starters that can be considered “solid” by even the loosest defintion is a luxury few teams have.

              I’m not here to make a strong case for Banuelos. I’m just saying that, when looking at within the organization only, if he is healthy, he gets a strong look next year.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              And you know he won’t be ready almost a year from now because…

              Guy was dominant in AAA his only healthy starts this year. I don’t think anyone is advocating just handing him a spot, but saying there’s a better chance that he earns a spot than any other Yankee prospect.

          • nsalem says:

            I can see Kuroda coming back if he continues to excel. I don’t think Andy is leaving as long as he continues pitching at this level. History shows that besides Mike Mussina and Al Spalding are the only 2 pitchers with over 200 wins that have left after good seasons. The other 60 or so pitchers retired due to injury or were shown the door because they were basically finished. Spalding left at 27 due to great financial opportunities and Mussina is a very unique individual.
            I am impressed from what I have seen and heard about Banuelos. The one thing I wonder about though is that after several years in the minors he is averaging under 5 innings per start. If he has been unable to go 6 inninga at Trenton I don’t know how people think he can just come up and do it here. I don’t know what his pitch count limit has been, but if it is at 100 pitches it means he is unable to get 15 outs in those 100 pitches at the double A l level. To me that translates to someone who is knocking at the door.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I tip my hat to you if you just came up with Al Spalding off the top of your head. :)

            • nsalem says:

              correction: that does not translate to someone knocking at the door

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Pettitte already did walk away after a good season…

              Banuelos hasn’t pitched in Trenton in a year.
              Minor league pitchers that young are generally restricted on an annual basis, not a start-by-start basis. They often pull them as part of an innings building strategy, not due to results. He was injured this season, explaining the low innings totals. 3.2 IP, 2 H, 5 K, 0 BB his first start back from injury, for example.

              • nsalem says:

                If you come back after walking away did you really walk way? I guess there are several ways to look at it. The point I was trying to make was that nobody but the 2 guys I mentioned ever left on a permanent basis. I think it takes a unique individual
                who just leaves for good. Jim Brown did it in football at 30 and Marciano left boxing for good at 33 (although he did train for a month at age 36 with the thought of coming back, but changed his mind).
                You’re right about Manny I checked out his last two games before his injury and his pitch counts were 79 and 90. Looks like they don’t want him to start an inning where he may go over 95 or 100 pitches. Thanks for the info.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  I don’t know what Pettitte will do, but I do think walking away once already makes it more likely than someone who hasn’t walked away.

                  Yeah, Banuelos was also coming back from back injury and sort of rehabbing his way back to full strength. 80, 90, and 100+ might have been around the corner if he hadn’t hurt the elbow. Who knows, but maybe the elbow is even related to coming back too quickly from the back and overcompensating or overextending himself or something.

            • I Live In My Mom's Basement says:

              Al Spalding was not an effective pitcher at 26. He pitched almost not at all that year and mostly played infield that year.

              • nsalem says:

                He started 4 games and wasn’t exactly ineffective. I know at that point I think he was a team owner and already in business. I don’t know why he switched to the infield, but unless there was an injury I don’t think he was through at 26. I was under the impression he left to start a business. If you know anything about this or anyplace I can get more info, please let me know. I am very curious about these kind of things. Thanks for the info.

          • Ro says:

            I’m on the fence about Kuroda. He’s been great these last few starts and seems he’s made some adjustments to the AL style now. I didn’t expect it to happen in the first month, so he’s done pretty well in my opinion over these last few weeks. It’s a bit early to judge this one, however. Provided he goes on to pitch well for the rest of the season and considering he likely has another solid year or two left in him, I could see the Yanks extending another 1 year deal, especially considering the budget measures don’t come into play until 2014. I suppose a lot hinges on Pettitte’s durability and desire to go another year. With Pineda likely back in the fold, that’s already 6 starters and not including Banuelos. I do agree however that come 2013 regardless of overall results, Banuelos goes to the front of the line in terms of the younger arms.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Starting to be able to count Kuroda’s good run in months, and not just weeks.

              I don’t think Banuelos will be in the front of the line regardless of results. There’s a lot of depth, so I think he’ll have to earn it. Granted… most of the other guys haven’t been too impressive this season so the door is pretty open.

              • Ro says:

                Yep. Agreed. I think if Kuroda continues to pitch this well, you can almost guarantee that Cashman extends another 1 year deal. Considering cost is not as relevant for 2013 and baring some epic melt down by Kuroda, I’d start planning on him being part of 2013 roster. The guy definitely doesn’t look old and he’s doesn’t display any risks of injury.

          • JCK says:

            So you’re saying:

            CC
            Nova
            Hughes

            Then two of:

            Pettitte
            Pineda
            Banuelos
            Phelps

            Gotta assume, if Pineda is ready and Pettitte wants to return, they have the biggest claim on those final two spots.

          • RetroRob says:

            Re: Pettitte. I’ve had the opposite take. I get the impression he’s not thinking of this as a one-and-done return. He’ll no doubt wait until the season is done before making that determination, but my guess is he’ll be back in 2013.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      The guy is in the big leagues earning benefits and a big league salary. He has started some games and pitched out of the bullpen some. This is fairly typical for a rookie, esp for a non top prospect.

      The idea that he is being mistreated is laughable, I am sure he is thrilled with his experience this season.

      • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls and/or RI$P FTW) says:

        i think he means he hates how theyre treating his development, not how theyre actually treating him. he obviously has it very well.

    • Ro says:

      I willing to bet that Phelps, at the ripe age of 25 disagrees with your “treatment” logic. He made the team out of camp. He did very well. If anything going back to triple AAA would only help. Get him some innings, stretch him out again. Have him ready for a spot start if needed. As it stands now, he is probably a little stale. As for trading him, that is certainly possible if a nice LF or RF chip is made available. If the Cubs really want to unload Soriano, I could see Theo doing a straight up swap for Phelps or Phelps and Mitchell. The Cubs are starved for young pitching and Phelps is not chump, even though he’s not rated that high. If the Cubs want to pick the full $48mm, then I see this as a win for the Yanks. They get pretty substantial production in the OF for no cost (outside of one or two young arms) but no dollars. That takes care of the Swisher issue going into the offseason. Problem is, it creates a little bit of a log jam in the OF/DH now and I’m not sure how Swish would react to it. It might be the “writing on the wall” type of thing. I’m still hopefully that Cashman and Towers have a discussion about Upton. Problem is the D-Backs don’t need pitching as much as other areas and that is the Yanks strength at the moment to trade some young arms. I wish Cargo’s contract wasn’t stupidly back loaded the way it is, because he’d be the one to go after. No way it could happen btw the cost of talent and prospects and the fact he’s making almost $20mm per year starting in 2014, which is completely the opposite of what the Yanks need. That is of course, unless they don’t intend on resigning Granderson and Cargo would assume the dominant role in the OF. Could Williams be ready for CF in 2014? Lots to think about.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        We can take care of all this without trading Phelps and/or having the nostalgia reunion least asked for since the New Kids on the Block.

        • Ro says:

          Yeah, I’m not inclined to support a trade of Phelps for Soriano, but when you put it all together, if you can get a player of Soriano’s offensive production for 1 pitcher and no dollars, which I do believe Theo would entertain (considering their pitching corps are awful) and when factoring the Swisher contract debate, especially now with Either signing what he did, it does make some sense. I’m really just talking out of my ass right now though. It’s a good debate nonetheless.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I don’t think that the Cubs will eat $48 million.

        • Ro says:

          Already said they would absorb upwards of $45mm, so it’s possible, I suppose.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            It’s possible… but when did they say that and for what return? He’s actually producing at this point, and it’s different to do that for a top prospect or strong package than for Phelps. I like Phelps, but he’s sort of a borderline rotation candidate and not a total stud.

  9. nsalem says:

    I think Phelps should go down and return to starting. He is a possible emergency starter this year, a possible starter for next year and also may represent a trade chip for a bat as we move towards the deadline. Eppley seems quite credible as a mop-up guy and seems capable of doing as good or a better job then Mitre and Gaudin. Watching Kay mistake him for other white relief pitchers is also becoming amusing.

  10. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Yup. Went with Phelps. Honestly surprised that, with all the crap that gets thrown at Eppley, he wasn’t in the lead here. It’s clear Eppley has a role right now, though, where Phelps just doesn’t. Freddy can do what he’s doing, and Phelps is best served refining those pitches and getting to the point where he’s at the front of the line for what’s bound to be, at least, two open rotation spots next year. 2012 was going to be about riding the shuttle and being noticed and, certainly, compared to the two AAA pitchers Phelps gets lumped in with, he’s done just that.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Don’t think there are bound to be 2 open rotation spots next season. It’s possible, but far from certain.

  11. Ro says:

    I thought about this last night, mainly for the reason of their OF issue’s. I’ve been on the fence about releasing Wise, which at this point, I don’t think will happen. I think they need to keep him on the roster for defensive purposes alone, plus in a serious pinch with Granderson out for a day or more, he’s clearly the guy to take on that role filling in. I’ve also been thinking the Garcia should be released, but part of me feels that won’t happen as well. I think the most obvious choice is to send Phelps down to AAA, but I’m willing to bet that it’s Eppley that draws the short straw on this one. It’s just a Girardi type of move. Rapada isn’t going anywhere. He’s been solid and gives Joe that whole double fisted lefty thing out of the pen. It’s worked really well so far these last two games in the NL with the double switches, etc.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Joe seems to be comfortable with Eppley as a match-up guy.

      I’m of the belief that DeWayne Wise type of guys grow on trees, so that DFA’ing him may not necessarily mean losing him.

      I think swapping Wise and Dickerson would be wise. Then again, and this is me contradicting what I just said above, Mustellier has options (unless there’s something I’m missing here).

      • Ro says:

        Agreed. While I think Phelps is the clear choice to send down, part of me thinks Girardi makes the call on Eppley. Not sure why though.

        Agreed about Wise, but he’s pretty solid and seems like a good teammate type of guy. He’s real value is his ability, defensively in CF should they need him there too. RF/LF types definitely are more available, but a solid defensive CF candidate is not so easy to find in a pinch. Look at Byrd for example. He was awful in Boston and he is a guy that used to be moderately ok out there.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Oh, I like Wise. I think he’s the type of guy who shows up on a highlight reel a couple of times a year. I just don’t think that, if he were to be left hanging out there, it’s a guarantee he’s gone. It might even be more likely that, if he leaves, it’s because he chooses free agency rather than a trip back to AAA.

        • yoo-boo says:

          Wise, Nix and Stewart on the same roster. I think Yanks have too much mendoza style hitters off the bench. Adding a player with good hit ability is necessary.

          Since Yanks lack CF skill with good hit ability for MLB job, I don’t see Wise going anywhere. Mustieler replacing Nix is more logical but does Girardi trust Mustieler enough to play SS?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Dickerson can play CF and pinch-run too, though, and is probably a better all-around player. Depends on Gardner prognosis and Dickerson opt-out prognosis whether you cut Wise to expose Dickerson I suppose.

          Byrd does seem to have lost a few steps suddenly, but I think it’s his offense that’s the problem more than his defense. And if Wise were actually played regularly, I think it would be the same issue.

          • MannyGeee says:

            I have to think Dickerson gets the call if Gardy is out for the season. Considering there is no Xavier Nady or Lance Berkman sitting out there just waiting to be scooped (Soriano is not those guys, BTW), I think you have to use Dickerson’s ‘one and done’ chip now and worry about his future with the team after the season.

            Since he has no options, you HAVE to use Dicky (/Girardi’d) when you need him for more than a week. We might be at that point.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              If he’s out for the season, sure. I think Dickerson is an upgrade over Wise. Could also consider Mustelier or Branyan (get Granderson a day off while Wise is still there).

              It’s pretty hard to say who is on the trade market and for what. Did you know those deals would happen ahead of time? I’m quite sure that there is an OF or two out there. Might be more of an Austin Kearns, but I bet there’s someone out there.

  12. Cris Pengiucci says:

    Of course, the option not mentioned here is to trade someone (in lieu of cutting them). Not sure there’s much value in Garcia, but one of the other arms might get you something of value in return. Just a thought.

    • nsalem says:

      I agree and that is what I think will happen. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something along the lines of a Melancon for Berkman type deal sometime in late July.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Freddy is doing what Freddy does well… sit there all drippy & wait for an emergency to jump in and chomp on some innings.

  13. Bubba says:

    Having Phelps wither in the bullpen helps neither the team or his development. Send him down and have Freddy handle the mop up work.

  14. yoo-boo says:

    The reason Girardi uses mix and match approach after 7th inning is Yanks lose both Rivera and Robertson. With Robertson’s return, the mix and match will begin after 5th or 6th inning and Phelps is not a part of M&M committee.

  15. A.D. says:

    Phelps seems to be the clear choice here, he needs innings and is actually a potential part of the franchise going forward. The money is sunk on Freddy, and might as well let him be the one rotting with minimal innings vs. an actual prospect in Phelps

  16. CS Yankee says:

    Phelps to AAA, followed by Eppley.

    Joba or DA53 might be back by AS break and SP has been great.
    Hold Garcia until postseason roster just in case he is needed.

    Logan to me is the most improved Yankee since the walkfest of 2010 that he stared in.

    • Ro says:

      Not seeing Joba before Sept 1, at the earliest. When rosters expand the Garcia thing becomes irrelevant. What the Yanks need to determine is if Garcia has any value to the team btw now and Sept 1. David Ardsma is the most likely candidate to return right after the AS break. He was a great pick up by Cashman. Let’s hope he works out. Guy has some good stuff.

  17. jjyank says:

    I vote for Phelps. He’s the only one besides Eppley that can be send down without losing someone, and Eppley is at least beings used. Let Phelps get stretched out again, he’ll be back.

  18. RkyMtnYank says:

    Since I haven’t seen anyone on this side in the posts yet, I voted for Freddy. He is a complete waste of a roster spot, even for mop up duty since we don’t really ever have too much of that anyway.
    I agree with all of the Phelps development issues but I think we all knew that when he broke camp with the team that was going to be the case for him this year. It’s just like Noesi last year, whom I believe is paying a bit for that type of use this year with Seattle. Phelps could handle that additional mop up duty as well and could be getting many more innings.
    Epply’s ground ball rate against righties makes him kinda serviceable so I believe it’s just about cutting the weakest link at this point, which is Garcia.

  19. Brian S. says:

    If Girardi was committed to using Phelps I would want him to stay but because that seems unlikely I say send him down to AAA. The next time a starter goes six, why not let Phelps pitch the 7th and 8th? Especially during a stretch where Wade and Logan are being used a lot.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Phelps has 33.2 IP this season… it’s been one stretch he hasn’t been used. While that could be neglect, there are plenty of other possible explanations.

  20. Greg says:

    Send Phelps to AAA to start a few games. Freddy is our long man, Rapada and Logan are our LOOGYs, Wade and Eppley are our middle relievers, Robertson is out setup man, and Soriano’s the closer.

    When and if Joba comes back this season, I would send down Eppley unless someone else has bottomed out

  21. LiterallyFigurative says:

    Send Phelps down. If he’s not going to pitch (due to the starters going 6 and 7 innings per game), then it’s best he go down to AAA and get work.

    He’s not a top prospect, but having him as the second mop-up man is kind of a waste.

  22. Cuso says:

    Phelps is this year’s Noesi. He’s trade fodder in a Span deal if Gardner doesn’t come back.

  23. Connecticut Yankee says:

    I vote for Phelps for one reason. He is not developing as a picher sitting in the bullpen. And there is a twist, I would like him to return in July and/or August to start every so often to give the starting 5 an extra day of rest. It is a long season and we need the pitching staff to be strong at the end.

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