ESPNNY: Yankees may use Banuelos out of the bullpen in 2014


Via ESPN NY: The Yankees may use left-hander Manny Banuelos as a reliever this coming season. He is returning from Tommy John surgery. “Banuelos has got that big arm,” said one member of the team’s front office. “If it’s still there and the lightning still strikes then you’re going see people say, ‘F— it, bring him with us [on Opening Day].’”

Banuelos, 22, missed all of last season following elbow reconstruction and was limited to only 24 innings in early 2012 due to a different elbow injury. Spring Training will be the first time he pitches in a competitive game in nearly two full years. Banuelos wasn’t exactly a finished product before the elbow injuries, so I think making the Opening Day roster is unlikely, even as a reliever. I’m not opposed to having him (or anyone, really) start their big league career out of the bullpen as long as there is a clear plan to get him back into the rotation at some point relatively soon.


  1. Frank says:

    Obviously Hank said that.

  2. MB923 says:

    I’d rather they keep him in the minors as a starter and they go with Cesar Cabral

  3. Eselquetodolosabe says:

    Bañuelo rules ?! Noooooooooooo !

  4. Chip Rodriguez says:

    A lot of talk about a guy who hasn’t thrown competitively in what, 18 months? He wasn’t a finished product then, and he’s still only 22.

  5. Tanuki Tanaka (Formerly Bob Buttons) says:

    No no no no no no no no no no !

    No Joba 2.0 please!

  6. The Great Gonzo says:

    This has ill advised written all over it. Which is exactly why its going to happen.

  7. BigLoving says:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to this as long as the arm strength is back after TJ. I was just saying to my pops the other day how teams seem so afraid to let a young arm earn his way into the rotation thru the pen. Personally I think it’s easier for a pitcher to get his mechanics and delivery down pitching a couple times a week rather than starting every 5 days.

    • ALZ says:

      But you end up pitching way more innings in the rotation. In the rotation you learn to get a guy out 3 times, and need to develop your offspeed stuff. Pen you can get by with 2 pitches.

  8. MikeHC says:

    Nice to see the Yanks organizational philosophy for developing prospects is as nuanced as a Randy Levine text message. Now that I know all decisions start with “fuck it,” it definitely puts some of their past decisions in proper context. Should we be patient and try to develop joba as a starter? Ah, fuck it, send him to the pen. Should we sign this igawa guy even though we have never scouted him? Ah, fuck it, how bad could he be.

  9. CountryClub says:

    This is one of the rare times where I think it makes sense to do something like this with a guy like Banuelos. He’s going to be on an innings limit anyway; let him get those 100 innings with the big club.

    Of course, he needs to earn it. Only give him a spot if he’s throwing really well in ST.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      He’s going to be on an innings limit anyway; let him get those 100 innings with the big club.


      Why even risk it though?

      • Havok9120 says:

        Risk what, exactly?

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          I just don’t want to go through the whole Joba thing again. I know it should be a dead issue but when I hear young Yankee starter and bullpen I think oh boy.

          • Havok9120 says:

            See, that’s the attitude I think we need to avoid.

            I don’t want this to happen to ManBan right now. He needs to be starting somewhere this year to get the feel back with all of his pitches and whatnot. I just don’t think we can quail at the idea of pitchers breaking into the rotation through the bullpen. It’s a system that’s been seen to work and, frankly, it’s the only way to get multiple pitching prospects MLB innings unless you’re willing to just punt a few years at the MLB level.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

              What I don’t like is taking a starting pitching prospect, having him exhibit success in the bullpen and, then, saying “you’re a bullpen guy now.” That fails to me. Perhaps Neftali Feliz is a good example here.

              Moving a pitcher from the rotation to the bullpen to the rotation doesn’t “break” them, however, and neither does starting a young guy’s MLB experience in the bullpen if he was an MiLB starter. If Joba Chamberlain was never called up that summer, would this fear even exist?

              I think Manny Banuelos should remain in AAA unless he just beats everyone else out for the fifth starter’s spot. Why? Because he’s been out for two seasons, as well as me valuing him more as a depth option than Brian Gordon, Brian Billings, and Brian Fantana.

              *walks away*

  10. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    Prediction: Nothing becomes of this.

    Second prediction: The 100+ comments which will follow will believe otherwise.

    Also, can’t we just let Joba Chamberlain die in peace?

    • MikeHC says:

      I was going to show some restraint and not take a meaningless report and blow it up into something bigger, but then I said “fuck it.”

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        It’s your God-given right to do so.

        I’d actually love for Banuelos to pitch well enough out of ST that he’s a tempting option on the roster. I just think this ends with him starting every five days in AAA and seeing some time on the roster second half of the season and, even then, that’s still a pretty good-case scenario.

    • Nathan says:

      I think people, myself included, have such a hard time with Joba because of the promise he showed in ’07.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        I get that. I absolutely do. I had visions of the next Clemens.

        I do think that some people continue to blame things we have no business blaming for his Yankee demise.

      • The Great Gonzo says:

        The part everyone forgets with Joba is that he dropped to a position in the draft where the Yankees could draft him BECAUSE of his substantial injury history in college.

        But nah, fuckit, Cashman broke him.

  11. Ari Gold says:

    What happened with Joba will have people skittish but the Yankees were just impatient and botched it. Same thing could happen here but there are bullpen to rotation success stories. It’s not as simple as saying look at what happened with Wacha but it’s not as simple as pointing to the Joba situation either.

  12. Jamie Wolf says:

    I like the idea. In the past this is how most pitchers broke into the majors… like Santana or Liriano for the Twins, let him learn in the big leagues and build some confidence and develop.. of course that is based on NO Joba rules which crushed his career.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      What crushed Joba’s career may have had nothing to do with the rules.

      I am pretty positive I am the first person ever to make that observation.

      • TWTR says:

        His failure is probably not the result of one thing, but there would have been no need for “rules” if he had been left to finish off his development as a starter at AAA. Instead he started only 7 games in AA and 1 game in AAA prior to his call-up in 2007.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

          I understand that, but he was later given the opportunity to start in the bigs and looked just fine before injury. The organization seemed to lose belief that he would be reliable enough to withstand the starter’s workload. If they didn’t believe that, I do think he would have remained as a starter.

          If you ask me, injury and Joba derailed Joba. He may still get it back just yet.

          Again, though, I just never want to speak of Joba: The Yankee Years again. I like him. I wish him well.

      • RetroRob says:

        Joba’s career as a starter ended a warm August evening in Arlington Texas in 2008. It’s unlikely the Joba Rules had anything to do with it.

        As Cliff Corcoran wrote when it happened, he might very well have injured himself avoiding a throw from Ivan Rodriguez. Or he might simply injured his shoulder by throwing a baseball. His motion was always a cause for concern going back to when he was drafted.

        What we do know is he injured him in that game and he was never same afterwards. He lost three mph on his fastball, some tilt on the slider, and command of his pitches. They never returned.


        • RetroRob says:

          I should add his chances of a career as a dominant started ended that night. The Yankees did put him in the rotation the next year, but he was a shadow of what we originally saw.

          The Yankees were concerned when they first brought him back in September 2008, shutting him down quickly. They were concerned in spring training the following year, they were concerned throughout the season. They knew something had been lost and probably like us hoped it would return.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

            Thank you.

            Now let’s lay this to rest.

            Cashman failed.

            • RetroRob says:

              We will never let it go. Never!

              Twenty years from now, the stories will be even bigger. He threw 110 mph, I tell you. He had the fastball of Nolan Ryan, the slider of Ron Guidry, the change-up of Johan Santana, the command of Greg Maddux, the presence of Roger Clemens on the mound, all in one package. Then the Yankees created the Joba Rules and tossed by the side of the road. Yup, that’ll be the story.

              I don’t even want to think of what will happen if he pitches well in Detroit and they make him a starter. The Internet will break.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            The Yankees were concerned when they first brought him back in September 2008,


            Still one of the dumbest things they did.

  13. TWTR says:

    If true, this would epitomize whey they suck at development, and then are often forced to overpay starters based on past, rather than future, performance.

    A young pitcher needs to work on all of his pitches and build up arm strength.

    • Havok9120 says:

      That almost makes it sound like you’re totally against letting any starting pitching prospects break onto the roster through the bullpen. Is that correct, or no?

  14. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    Even I am forced to admit that there were three paragraphs worth of exchange before the unamed front office source finally collapsed and said ‘fuck it.’

    Having said that, it would be awesome.

    (but don’t get your hopes up yet…)

  15. Andrew Brotherton says:

    He’s only getting 100 to 120 innings at the most this year anyways so if you can get him pitching every 5 days in the majors getting experience I don’t see how this could hurt. You could have him as Pineda’s caddy. He gets 110 innings and then you shut him down.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

      Hard to use a roster spot JUST for that, but hell…somebody will have to pitch behind Pineda anyway, and if it isn’t a Save situation why not have him do it? He has a light load one start maybe you throw him out for an inning 2 days later. As Pineda AND Banuelos stretch out, others are getting closer to being ready, and when ManBan hits his limit, let him stop.

      It is perverted, but not a half bad strategy.

  16. Bobby d says:

    One or more of the Yankees top young arms is going to be a necessity for this bullpen to succeed! Maybe it will be Betances, Banuelos or Ramirez. But someone is going to have to emerge if the yanks don’t acquire a veteran reliever like Rodney.

  17. RetroRob says:

    This is a bad idea.

  18. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    What do we feel Manny’s innings limit is? I’m hearing 100 thrown around a lot. What was his highest total in the minors? Do we feel that still applies after two missed seasons?

    • Havok9120 says:

      His previous max was 120 in 2011, and that was 30 more than the previous year. I can easily see them shutting him down around the 100-120 mark.

    • RetroRob says:

      I believe somewhere around 130 innings, although he might have some additional innings in the AFL that same year.

      No reason he couldn’t pitch around 120 innings this year, setting him up for 160+ on the MLB level in 2015 if all goes well. Yet, if he goes to the bullpen, have no idea how they’ll build his arm/innings, and help him gain command of his pitches since relievers. As Mike noted, he was hardly a finished product before the surgery and lost years.

      Hence my comment above that it’s a bad idea. I just don’t see it helping his development at all.

  19. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    “I’m not opposed to having him (or anyone, really) start their big league career out of the bullpen”

    I am 100% opposed to Gosuke Katoh starting his big league career out of the bullpen.

    I’d risk it with DBJ, though. Obvious Culver comment is obvious.

  20. Bo Knows says:

    holy hell, please no

  21. RetroRob says:

    The headline, btw, scared the hell out of me. I scanned it quickly, so ESPN and as I quickly moved to the right my mind absorbed the words “Banuelos” and “out.” I thought he was saying he was out of the season!

    Beyond that, I went to the article and saw Wally Matthews name. The quote is also a bit unclear. I’m quite sure we’ll hear a clarification from the Yankees, and probably Cashman at some point, that they have no intentions of starting Banuelos in the pen this year.

  22. Steve (different one) says:

    Could be an (kindof weak, IMO) attempt to get some leverage in trade or FA talks for a reliever…

    “Hey, we don’t need Putz, we have Baneulos to pitch out of the pen”

    Or it could just be Wally Matthews….

  23. Darren says:

    All of you people comparing Banuelos to Joba are out of your minds. Joba was a huge factor in getting the Yankees a goddamned World Series Championship in 2009. Just because he didn’t fulfill the expectations placed on him and was horrible last year (coming back from two major surgeries) doesn’t make him a bust. He earned his keep.

    Banuelos, on the other hand, has done nothing so far. I’d be thrilled if he contributes to the big league team at all this year. This is taking prospect hugging to the extreme.

  24. Farewell Mo says:


    With the Yankees recent track record of failing miserably developing starting pitching, you’d think they’d steer clear of this plan.

    Gotta say the chances of ManBan developing into a quality starting pitcher have dropped in my opinion.

    • Farewell Mo says:

      I’d be OK if they let him pitch 100 innings or so as a starter in AAA and then let him pitch the last 30-40 innings of his season as a reliever in the majors down the stretch though.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Wait, they’ve dropped as a result of an unattributed quote which sounded like it was mocking the whole idea of moving him to the pen this year?

      And what path should they steer clear of? Breaking pitching prospects in in the MLB bullpen?

      • Havok9120 says:

        Ignore that second part. I misunderstood what you were saying (I think).

        • The Great Gonzo says:

          No, you nailed it. He’s off the track

        • Farewell Mo says:

          I would be against sticking ManBan in the pen from the start of 2014 because I think he needs innings and to develop his secondary pitches, that’s all.

          Plenty of teams have developed pitchers in the pen and I would be for a plan like the twins did with Santana.

  25. Pasta says:

    They never learn first they fuck up joba.
    Then Hughes And now they want to mess up Manny the Yankees never freaking learn
    Leave man ban alone in AAA build up his arm and stretch out for 2015 rotation.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      I feel sad and cold now.

      • Havok9120 says:

        Is your heart sad and lonely?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

          Burn it down till the embers smoke on the ground
          And start new when your heart is an empty room
          With walls of the deepest blue

          Home’s face: how it ages when you’re away
          Spring blooms and you find the love that’s true
          But you don’t know what now to do
          Cause the chase is all you know
          And she stopped running months ago

          • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

            We went with Death Cab for Cutie…..for the kids, really.

            • The Great Gonzo says:

              I was gonna go Elvis, but I am an old soul.

              Are you lonesome tonight,
              Do you miss me tonight?
              Are you sorry we drifted apart?
              Does your memory stray to a brighter summer day
              When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?
              Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?
              Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?
              Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
              Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

    • Pasta says:

      Watch joba with the tigers develop into a great closer.

  26. Pasta says:

    Why is everyone afraid of the pen
    Drob closer if he can’t phillies would love to get rid of their guy
    Claiborne both were great till joe over used them.
    Cabrel lf or even nuno
    Thorton lf
    Warren or phelps swing man long relief
    Betances set up
    Besides you can always get a bullpen arm at the mid point.

    • Havok9120 says:

      I’m far more nervous now than I was before reading this.

    • The Great Gonzo says:

      No dude, haikus are supposed to be 5 syllables, then 7 syllables, and then 5 again…. Unless this is supposed to be a prose or a sonnet or something…. Bitches love sonnets.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        I’ll take a shot.

        Why is everyone afraid of the pen
        Drob or maybe Soriano again

        Kelly, Claiborne both great until Joe
        Stairs Cabral, or even Nuno

        Warren and Phelps can go long
        We can trade Ichiro for Jon Papelbon(g)

        Betances can pitch the seventh or eighth
        Jose Ramirez looks like a waif

        Why is everyone afraid of the pen
        Because Pasta is back to trolling again

        *drops mic*

  27. Pasta says:

    Mid point closers will be available Papelbon, Soriano Nathan could all be had. Even bobby Parnell.

  28. Pasta says:

    Elsbury. Gritner
    Jeter Cano
    Beltran. Wells
    McCann. Overbay
    Tex. ichiro
    Soriano. Nunez
    Roberts. Nix
    Kelly. Stewart
    Gritner Almonte

    What a difference a year makes.

  29. Tyrone Sharpton says:

    That would be…moronic. Hope they don’t consider such a move until he’s 25 at the earliest. He’s still so young

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