If there’s one area of concern on the 2010 Yankees it’s been the bullpen, despite yesterday’s fine effort. More specifically, the problem has been the bridge to Mariano Rivera, who at age 40 is remarkably having one of his best seasons. I’ll go through the issues one by one and then propose some changes, all internal and none of which involve a trade. I’m not big on giving up talent for relievers due to their volatile nature and the learning curve involved with how to use them. Might as well just go with internal options that you are more familiar with and see if they can do the job.
-Joba Chamberlain has been put on notice by Joe Girardi, but unless he starts dominating (ala Joba 07) it’s hard to imagine him being able to doing anything to regain the trust of fans and his manager. We all know his peripherals have been good, but he’s been far too combustible in his current role. You can’t bring Mo in for 6 out Saves on nights when Joba doesn’t have it, so it’s best to either bury him in the bullpen or send him to AAA. I prefer the latter. There has long been whispers about Joba needing a wake up call, riding the buses in Scranton would certainly be that.
-Damaso Marte was placed on DL with a shoulder strain on Saturday, and Boone Logan was called up. Does that injury sound familiar? Yep, he had what was described as a mild shoulder strain in his first year with the Yankees, then again last year when he spent m0st of the season on the DL. It’s anyone’s guess how serious it is this time, but all we can say for certain that it is a recurring issue for him. Yanks are saying 2-3 weeks, don’t hold your breath.
-David Robertson is being discussed taking over Joba’s role as the primary setup man. While his overall numbers don’t look great, he’s been reliable since his ERA peaked at an ugly 14.21 early in the season. Since May 5th, over his last 22 outings he’s had a 2.70 ERA and has SO 27 batters in 24.1 IP. Walks have been high, with 15 BB over that same time frame. But he’s always walked batters, it’s part of who he is. That doesn’t preclude him from being effective.
-Sergio Mitre is due to be activated from the DL, and is expected to join the team on Tuesday for the Angels series. I have to assume he takes Pettitte’s place and slots into his spot in the rotation with Andy on the shelf for 2-3 weeks minimum.
-Andy’s injury probably saved Chad Gaudin’s spot on the roster, who was one of the most likely candidates to be released when Mitre was activated. Chad has done little in his second go round with the Yanks, posting a 6.52 ERA this year. But looking at Gaudin’s game log he’s been better of late, giving up just 4 ER over his last 13.1 IP. Despite this, I think the Yanks will want to give Dustin Moseley more of a chance and Gaudin remains the one on thin ice. Moseley has only pitched 6.0 innings for the team this year and could be useful as a Ramiro Mendoza-type who can either get you a ground ball or give you a few innings.
Now that we’ve laid it all out, I would do the following to remake the current bullpen:
-Release Chad Gaudin when Pettitte returns
-Release Chan Ho Park, call up Jon Albaladejo to take his place.
-Demote Joba to AAA call up Ivan Nova
The beauty of this is that the guys you’re calling up can’t be much worse than Park, Gaudin, or (in all honesty) Joba have been this year. If any of them pitches to an ERA below 6.00, it’s an upgrade. Of these 3 items, I fully expect the first two to happen. Demoting Joba would take some guts, and the Yanks may be swayed by his peripherals enough to stick with him. Assuming Joba pitches well in Scranton, he would be recalled when their season ends in early September (if not sooner) and could still contribute to the MLB club this year.
The Yankee bullpen would then be as follows:
Mariano Rivera (Closer)
David Robertson (Set up)
Damaso Marte/Boone Logan (LOOGY)
Dustin Moseley (long man)
What do you think? What moves would you like to see the Yanks make?
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