According to an anonymous report in the Washington Post, the Yankees did manage to complete a trade on Monday. They reportedly sent Tyler Clippard to the Nationals in exchange for promising 25-year-old reliever Jonathan Albaladejo. While there was really no place for Clippard in the Bronx, he may yet get his chance to start for the Nationals. Albaladejo threw 14.1 innings for the Nats last season with a 1.88 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP. He struck out 12 and walked 2 and immediately becomes a cog in the Yankees’ bullpen.
The New York Yankees announced today they have signed catcher Jose Molina to a two-year contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated infielder Andy Phillips for assignment.
Well, we all knew the Yanks would have to start clearing room on the 40-man roster soon enough. We all know about everything Andy’s gone through and how great of a person he is, but he was given plenty of chances and never really did enough to warrant a job. He’ll land on his feet.
The Yanks still have to clear room for A-Rod, Pettitte and Mo, so this won’t be the last of the 40-man cuts.
From The Post:
With rosters expanding to 40 men today, the Yankees will call up 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, who has missed 82 games to a fractured right wrist, INF Alberto Gonzalez , who came over in the Randy Johnson trade, and RHP Jose Veras. They will add more pitchers in a few days.
I also hear they’re calling up some kid named Ian Kennedy. In all seriousness, I’m a bit surprised Veras got the call, he was a prime DFA target for me. Next year when they need a 40-man spot for Kevin Whelan or David Robertson, I suppose. The Yanks actually need to clear 2 spots on the 40-man so that Mink & Veras can come off the 60-day DL, and I’m dying to see how they work this out (bye bye Sean Henn!).
Good to see the Former Attorney General up, he can really pick it with the glove, and won’t totally embarass himself with the bat, a la Miggy Cairo. Expect Kevin Thompson to come up one of these days too. I would have loved to see Brett Gardner come up for pinch-run/pinch-bunt/late inning-D role, but it’s not going to happen. Like they did last year with Hughes, Clippard & JB Cox, I think the Yanks will bring some kids up (probably Alan Horne, Whelan & Ross Ohlendorf) and have them shag flies during BP, hang out in the clubhouse, then watch the game from the stands just to get their feet wet.
Quick guess at the pitchers they’ll call-up: TJ Beam, Matt DeSalvo, Kei Igawa & Jeff Karstens, all after the Triple-A playoffs. Don’t be surprised if Chase Wright comes up just to have a lefty available.
I’m surprised we didn’t find this earlier. Buried at the bottom of Tyler Kepner’s game story:
The Yankees recalled the right-hander Chris Britton after the game. They needed a fresh pitcher after Sean Henn allowed nine runs on Monday.
Congratulations, Chris. You’ve overcome all the odds. Now languish in the bullpen like all of the other pitchers not in the circle of trust.
Kei Igawa, the most disappointing Yankee pitcher since Carl Pavano, may be donning the San Diego fatigues soon. According to numerous reports such as this one on ESPN.com, the Padres, who tried to acquire Igawa in July, have put a waiver claim on the lefty. The Yanks hope to acquire relief pitching for Igawa who is just 2-3 with an ERA a tad under 7.00. Let’s hope the Yanks can make this happen.
Update by Mike: I was just thinking…the Pads recently DFA’ed old friend Boomer Wells, would anyone be down with an Igawa-for-Boomer deal? If nothing else, it gives us a starter to cover Clemens’ start on Tuesday without having to finagle the 40-man roster or throw Jeff Karstens out there. Maybe he could even suck it up and serve as a lefty out of the ‘pen for the rest of the year. Random musings on my part…
Update by Ben: Joe and I were talking about Mike’s suggestion late last week when the Padres DFA’d Wells. Wells, we noted, is persona non grata in the Bronx following the 2003 World Series and comments Boomer made upon leaving New York. He’s not coming back. But he also wouldn’t be a bad influence on Hughes or Chamberlain as someone noted in the comments. If anything, Wells is a bit of a buffoon off the field but on the field, he’s always been a top competitor.
Lisa Kennelly of The Star-Ledger has the definitive word on the Yankees’ roster moves.
Brian Bruney, who has struggled greatly with his control, will be optioned to Scranton to make room for Joba Chamberlain. And thankfully, Miguel Cairo has been designated for assignment to make room for Jason Giambi. That move gets rid of the worst offensive player on the Yankee and clears up a spot on the 40-man for Chamberlain.
The Bruney move is questionable but not surprising. While his 3.40 ERA is low this year, that number doesn’t tell the whole story. On the season, Bruney’s been very inconsistent. He’s pitching to a K/BB ratio of nearly 1. His strike outs are way down this season to 10.89 per 9 IP last year to 6.80 per 9 IP this year. His walks are up, and Torre has given him numerous opportunities to pitch. The Yankee skipper has, in other words, few reasons to feel confident in Bruney right now.
Relatedely, last week, Mariano Rivera called out Scott Proctor, Kyle Farnsworth and Brian Bruney. He noted that the three of them could throw hard but couldn’t pitch. With Proctor and Bruney gone, Kyle Farnsworth must be looking over his proverbial shoulder now too.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ bench just became a source of strength for this team. Some Yankee fans have always liked Miguel Cairo. But no one will miss his .252/.308/.318. With Melky Cabrera firmly entrenched as the team’s starting centerfielder, the Yankee bench now features some combination of Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, Andy Phillips, Wilson Betemit, Jose Molina and Shelley Duncan. That’s a far cry from Josh Phelps, Wil Nieves and Miguel Cairo.
According to reports out of Omaha, Nebraska (linked above) and ESPN TV, Joba Chamberlain is heading to Toronto to join the Yankees. It’s a move that we have been anticipating for a while, and a move that, if Joe Torre can handle it, should pay dividends for the Yankees nearly immediately.
Harlan Chamberlain, Joba’s dad, broke the move to the Omaha World-Herald. “To be happening this quick, it’s just a dream,” he said to reporter Mitch Sherman. “It’s a dream that was always there, but to achieve it this quick, it’s unbelievable. It’s surreal.”
In a corresponding move, according to ESPN, the Yanks will keep Jim Brower around and send Jeff Karstens, who was shaky during his first appearance back from the DL last week against Chicago, to Scranton. There is still no word on who will be dismissed when Jason Giambi is activated tomorrow, but we’ll have more on that when it happens.
The Yankees’ Front Office would like Joba Chamberlain to become the 7th or 8th inning guy for the Yanks. He’ll replace Kyle Farnsworth outright. Farnsworth will now be the mop-up man for all intents and purposes. Chamberlain will also take some pressure off of Luis Vizcaino, the current set-up man who has been great recently but has appeared in 33 of the Yanks’ last 59 games. Vizcaino, in danger of becoming this year’s Steve Karsay or Ron Villone, is rapidly approaching career highs in innings pitched and appearances.
Chamberlain, 21, is pitching his first season of professional baseball this year. He has rapidly moved up the list of Baseball America’s top prospects and is currently regarded as one of the top five best players not in the majors. In three levels of Minor Leagues, his numbers are downright nasty. He’s struck out 135 in 88.1 innings and opponents are hitting just .198 against him. Impressively, he’s walked just 27.
As a reliever over the last few days, he’s been flat-out nasty. He’s thrown 4 innings and has gotten 10 of those 12 outs through a strike out. He’s given up one hit, and that’s all.
While many people are concerned that Joe Torre will ruin Joba, I have to think that Brian Cashman won’t let that happen. While Torre seems to be a lame duck — and trading and releasing his crutches proves that — Cashman will exert influence to keep his prized possessions in a good start. There just isn’t enough of the season left for Torre to run Joba ragged.
For the team, this is huge. They’ve got a bona fide power pitcher — and not a power thrower like Bruney or Farnsworth — coming out of the pen. He can dial it up to 98 and mixes in some stellar off-speed pitches. Considering how bad the Yanks pen looked a few weeks ago, things are looking up for the Yanks.
We’ll see your Eric Gagne, Boston, and raise you a Joba Chamberlain.