What Kyle said

Another day, another mediocre Yankee reliever popping off about Joe Torre’s bullpen management skills.

Today’s contestant is Krazy Kyle Fansworth. He of the 1.45 WHIP and 4.80 ERA had this to say about his former boss:

“I always have confidence in myself, definitely,” he said. ” But it’s tough when you do lose the confidence from your manager to maybe prepare yourself day in and day out when you have no clue about anything.”

Farnsworth criticized the way the Yankees handled him last season, saying no one asked him if he could pitch on consecutive days or in the middle of an inning, two things Torre was reluctant to do. The Yankees decided unilaterally on “The Farnsworth Rules,” according to the reliever.

“I know that’s been going on in the past, especially last year,” he said. “They decided not to use me back-to-back days. They never came up to me and asked me. I don’t know why that came about.”

While I can understand why members of the Yankee bullpen were skeptical of Torre’s bullpen patterns, this is another example of a crappy pitcher bemoaning a fate that was largely in his hands. In 64 appearances last season, Farnsworth managed to throw just 14 one-two-three innings. He gave up walks; he gave up hits; he nibbled; and he was eventually replaced by Joba Chamberlain. Is it really surprising that Torre didn’t want to use him?

I’d be thrilled if Farnsworth could rediscover himself in 2008. A halfway decent season by the Farns could allow Joba to move seamlessly into the starting rotation without significantly weakening the Yanks’ late-inning pitching. But right now and forever really, Farnsworth only has himself to blame. If he didn’t like how Torre didn’t have confidence in him, it was because he didn’t show anything confidence-worthy on the mound last season. Prove us wrong, Kyle.

email

Yankees saying and doing all the right things

Is it just me, or has the first few days of Spring Training set the expectations for the Yankees rather high? Sure, many of us can see through the media spin on the events of the past week or so. But even at that point, we’re seeing players do things, rather than just saying them. It’s a careful balance that the Yankees have executed perfectly so far. And I have to say, it has me more excited about this season than I have been in any year I can remember — though I’m fairly certain I say that every year.

First, we heard about the pitchers who showed up early. Joba, Phil, and IPK in particular were there before they required to, which is always reassuring. We also heard about Shelley Duncan showing up to work on his first base skills with Tino Martinez. And, Cap’n Jetes was there early, too. But he resides in Tampa, so it only makes sense for him to be around.

Then we heard about Brian Bruney losing weight. Good news, for sure. If anything, it shows that he’s at least a bit motivated. It’s certainly better than him showing up in the same physical shape as last year, and spouting off lines about his determination to make the team. PeteAbe also noted that Mike Mussina checked in lighter, which spoke to his off-season conditioning. We also heard about Kyle Farnsworth being less bulky, but then it was revealed that he dealt with a rather nasty staph infection last month.

[Read more…]

Anatomy of an effective bullpen

In 2007, the Padres and the Red Sox topped their respective leagues in bullpen ERA and batting average against. Thing is, entering the season, neither team had much to boast about in that department. In fact, the Sox pen was in such shambles that Jonathan Papelbon told Tony Francona that he wanted to move back to the closer role (or at least that’s how Boston tells the story). So how did these two teams come out ahead?

Skilled closer

Obviously, the first step in building a bullpen is creating a viable endgame. Both Trevor Hoffman and Jonathan Papelbon qualify as such. They keep things relatively stable at the end — Papelbon more than Hoffman, though, as he blew just three saves last year (and we remember a couple of ‘em), while Hoffman was the goat in seven games, including the most important one for the Padres.

There’s not much else to say about this. We have it in Mo, who I think we all can agree is better than Hoffman at this stage of his career.
[Read more…]

Farnsworth OK after ‘hip pop’

With two outs in the ninth yesterday, Kyle Farnsworth pulled up a bit lame, and Joe Torre and the trainers rushed to the field. No one said much about it after the game, and the only word on his leg comes from Kat O’Brien. Farnsworth felt his hip pop and says he’s feeling OK. As any athlete knows, pop – shoulder, knee, elbow – happen, and the lingering effects are usually minimal. It’s all good.