Poll: The Long Man

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

No one likes to see a teammate get hurt, but it’s hard to imagine the Triple-A trio of David Phelps, Adam Warren, and D.J. Mitchell didn’t take the Michael Pineda shoulder tendinitis news as a personal positive. The injury freed up a bullpen spot and moved those three one step closer to the big leagues. There’s only one spot for three guys though, and the team is clearly looking to fill that spot with a traditional long man.

“Larry (Rothschild)’s done a really good job of getting them built up,” said Joe Girardi. “We kept them in camp a long time, and it was important they were built up for the season, and they are. But they’re built up to be a long man as well.”

What we’re talking about is the Hector Noesi role, which is fitting since Noesi was a Triple-A starter with seemingly little path to the big leagues at this time last year. As usual, these things have a way of working themselves out. The Yankees have to decide which of the three is best suited for the role and make the decision fairly soon since the Triple-A season starts in three days. Looking at Spring Training performance doesn’t really help one player stand out from the pack either…

Mitchell 6/0 14.1 63 2.51 19.0% 12.7% 50.0%
Phelps 6/1 16.0 67 2.25 17.9% 6.0% 47.2%
Warren 5/2 15.0 63 4.80 12.7% 1.6% 60.0%

Not only are we talking about Spring Training numbers, but we’re talking about a small sample of Spring Training numbers. That’s like, the double whammy of baseball statistics. Maybe the two negatives cancel each other out and we should take these number seriously, but good luck deciding who’s performed the best.

I don’t think there’s a wrong answer here. I believe all three guys are capable of long relief work in the show right now, so there’s a chance the decision will come down to factors other than expected performance. Warren isn’t on the 40-man roster, so that might work against him. The Yankees reportedly view Mitchell as a reliever long-term, which could work in his favor. It could also work against Phelps, who might be sent to the minors so he remains fully stretched out for whenever a spot start is needed. We could come up with a million different scenarios supporting each guy.

The nice thing about this whole situation is the flexibility. Whatever decision the Yankees make isn’t permanent; they can swap these guys out as needed. If Phelps ends up throwing 80 pitches in extra innings or something, they could send him down and recall Mitchell for a fresh arm. If the guy they pick for Opening Day stinks, well there are two replacements ready to go. We say it every year but it is worth repeating: the bullpen at the start of the year is never the same as the bullpen at the end of the year.

Anyway, a situation like this calls for a poll. We’ve had quite a few of these lately, but so be it. It’s that time of the year.

Who should be the long man to open the season?
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2012 Season Preview: Rest of the AL

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Last week we took a nice long look at the teams who figure to be the Yankees’ primary competition this season, meaning the Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, Angels, and Rangers. There are eight other clubs in the American League though, and the Yankees are going to play those eight teams quite a bit more than the five other contenders. Most of those eight teams aren’t very good, but every game counts the same.

Rather than doing a boring old offense/defense/pitching preview for each of those eight non-contenders, I decided to have a little fun with this one and put together some haikus. I encourage you to leave your own in the comments.

Baltimore Orioles
No pitching, few bats.
Buck is all talk and no bite.
Don’t dare dis Flanny!

Chicago White Sox
Rebuild or contend?
Kenny can’t seem to decide.
I wish we had Danks.

Cleveland Indians
Some funny names,
Asdrubal and Ubaldo?
Not winning this year.

Kansas City Royals
Hosmer is the shizz.
Young pitching ain’t quite there yet.
LOL Frenchy.

Minnesota Twins
Mauer and Morneau
Used to be really awesome.
Now they are broken.

Oakland Athletics
Yoenis is here.
Trade all of the pitchers!
Where are the fans?

Seattle Mariners
Felix is the man,
The rest of the team sucks.
I miss Montero.

Toronto Blue Jays
AA the best,
Until he gets Jeff Mathis.
New unis do rule.

Fan Confidence Poll: April 2nd, 2012

Record Last Week: 3-2-1 (45 RS, 39 RA)
Spring Training Record: 16-11-1 (147 RS, 130 RA)
Spring Training Schedule This Week: @ Marlins (Mon. on MLBN), @ Mets (Tues. on YES/SNY/MLBN), vs. Mets (Weds. on YES/MLBN), Thurs. OFF
Regular Season Schedule This Week: @ Rays (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
View Results

Sunday Night Open Thread

Ugly walls are ugly. (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

The Yankees beat the Marlins 10-8 today in the first game between two big league clubs at the new ballpark in Miami. Of course it was still an exhibition game, so who cares. The place seems to play pretty small based on this one look; a lot of balls that looked routine off the bat just kept on carrying. Also, the lime green walls are just awful. Makes the grass look dead and just doesn’t work. Anyway, here’s the box score. There’s no other news to report from Florida other than Joe Girardi saying the Opening Day roster will be announced sometime before the off-day on Thursday. The minor league season starts that day, so … duh.

Here’s the open thread for the night. The Rangers are the only local team in action, and a win tonight will clinch the best record in the conference. Apparently Wrestlemania is on as well, and I know 12-year-old me would have been thrilled. Talk about whatever, go nuts.

Last Reminder: Remember to vote for the 2012 Prospect Watch if you haven’t already. I’m going to close the poll a little later this evening. Mason Williams has opened a sizable lead over second place Manny Banuelos, so all you Manny fans better get on it.

Yankees sign Jason Bulger

The Yankees have signed right-hander Jason Bulger to a minor league deal, the team announced. The 33-year-old was released by the Twins not too long ago after giving up ten runs in four Spring Training innings. The former Angel is low-90s fastball type with both a slider and a changeup. Bulger’s career strikeout (9.34 K/9 and 24.2 K%) numbers are great, but not his walk (5.08 K/9 and 13.1 BB%) and ground ball (40.5%) rates aren’t anything special. Just some more Triple-A fodder.

ST Game Thread: Miami

For the first time in 2012, the Yankees will be playing in a Major League stadium today. It’s not just any stadium either, it’s the new Marlins park in Miami. The Yankees are playing two exhibition games there to help break the place in before the regular season, kinda like how the Cubs played in those two Yankee Stadium exhibition games back in 2009. Here’s the lineup, which looks an awful lot like the one we’ll see on Opening Day this Friday…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
DH Raul Ibanez
C Russell Martin
LF Brett Gardner

LHP CC Sabathia

Available pitchers:
RHP Mariano Rivera, RHP Rafael Soriano, RHP Cory Wade, RHP George Kontos, LHP Clay Rapada, RHP Brandon Pinder, RHP Mark Montgomery, LHP Juan Cedeno, and SwP Pat Venditte.

Available position players: C Frankie Cervelli, 1B Eric Chavez, 2B Doug Bernier, SS Eduardo Nunez, 3B Bill Hall, LF Chris Dickerson, CF Dewayne Wise, and RF Justin Maxwell will replace the starters.

Today’s game starts at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.