Rob over at Bronx Baseball Daily makes an interesting point. Mike Dunn and Phil Coke have looked good in spring training, and could theoretically make Damaso Marte obsolete very quickly. The Yankees could have not resigned him to a 3-year deal, and instead allowed Marte to become a free agent after offering him arbitration, thus acrueing draft picks while saving money. I have to respectfully disagree.
At best, Mike Dunn and Phil Coke may be able to be as good as Damso Marte. They are strong lefty relief prospects, but they have their flaws. Coke has only really been good for one year, and Dunn has only really been good for 18 innings. Dunn posted a 4.23 FIP for High-A Tampa this year, with a K/9 of 7.37 before being moved to the bullpen late in the season. He flourished there, striking out 14/9, but still walked a considerable number of people. Dunn is at best a year away from the major leagues, and possibly two years from being a productive major league player. Coke has a slightly longer pedigree and a history of major league success, but still has sample-size related concerns attached to him.
Damaso Marte is a very good relief pitcher. Aside from his short time in New York last season, Marte has posted consistent in the 2s and mid-3s. He has never posted a K/9 south of 9.0. He has held lefties to .200/.297/.287. While a pair of draft picks may net the Yankees more value in the long term, the Yankees are loading up for a playoff run that can’t wait. Marte provides them a very strong bullpen option that would be lacking had they otherwise waited for Dunn and Coke. He makes the staff that much deeper.
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