As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, the Yankees have seemingly been attached to a new available (and in certain cases, non-available) pitcher on a near-daily basis since being spurned by Cliff Lee. I’ve written comprehensive statistical analyses about a good number of these players (a) because I enjoy doing statistical analyses, and (b) there isn’t any other news to write about.
However, the latest group of players connected to the Yankees — Jeremy Bonderman, Andruw Jones, Kevin Millwood and Freddy Garcia (although Garcia was also mentioned much earlier this offseason) — are so bad and boring that I don’t even feel compelled to do charts for them. RAB and TYU have also covered these guys already for the most part, so we’ll just do a quick-and-dirty rundown.
As has been previously noted by just about everyone, Bonderman’s only truly great season came in 2006, when he pitched to a 4.08 ERA/3.29 FIP/3.49 xFIP line in 214 innings that was worth 6.1 fWAR. He had a 3.5 fWAR season in 2005 and a 3.2 fWAR season in 2007, but he’s been pretty unusable since, with a 5.18 FIP (71.1 innings) in 2008, 9.77 FIP in 2009 (only 10.1 innings) and 4.90 FIP (in 171 innings) last season. Despite three straight years of futility, James somehow has Bonderman projected to throw 179 innings of 4.58 ERA/4.44 FIP ball, which I suppose could be passable for your fifth starter, but for a former flamethrower whose average fastball speed has declined in each of the last five seasons, flyball rate rose to a career-high 39.2% last season and who hasn’t had a K/9 above 6 since 2007, I just don’t think I can buy that projection. CAIRO has the much more realistic projection of 5.24 ERA/4.92 FIP over 124 innings, “good” for 0.3 WAR. Nothing to see here, folks.
Millwood was the sixth-least valuable righthanded starter in the American League (150 innings or more) by fWAR, tied with A.J. Burnett at 1.3. Millwood (5.10 ERA/4.86 FIP) and Burnett (5.26 ERA/4.83 FIP) basically had the same season, and I can’t imagine there are any masochistic Yankee fans looking to relive the 2010 A.J. Burnett experience again, even if it does come out of the fifth starter slot, so Millwood is a no-go. The ever-optimistic James sees Millwood providing 202 innings of 4.63/4.34 ball, while CAIRO has 182 innings of 4.75/4.84 ball, which would be worth 1.7 WAR. The Yankees can do better than this. Also, less valuable righties than Millwood in 2010? Nick Blackburn, Brad Bergesen, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and (ahem) Jeremy Bonderman. I was fairly surprised to see Davis and Niemann on that list, considering they seemed to own the Yankees just about every time out last season.
Freddy Garcia (4.64 ERA/4.77 FIP) is the third righthander tied with Burnett and Millwood at 1.3 fWAR last season, and also arguably the scariest of the three. He barely strikes anyone out (5.10 K/9, 8th-worst among the AL starters with 150-plus innings) and it’s not like he makes up for it with an awesome GB% (just 40.7%). Additionally, his HR/9 was the 6th-worst in the AL, at 1.32. James sees an incredible rebound to a 4.20 ERA (albeit a 4.52 FIP) in 148 innings, while CAIRO has Garcia at 4.86/4.90 in only 31 innings, worth 0.1 WAR. Pass.
The only player of these three that could make a modicum of sense is Andruw Jones as a righty power bat off the bench. Though he started off the season like a house on fire and tailed off as the year progressed, he absolutely tagged lefties to the tune of a .402 wOBA, although that was only in 102 plate appearances. Still, given the bizarre reverse platoon splits that a historical lefty crusher like Alex Rodriguez (.380 wOBA vs. righties; .323 vs. lefties) exhibited in 2010, adding another righty bat like Jones’ to the lineup against lefties might not be the worst thing in the world.
Best case scenario he becomes 2011′s Marcus Thames, although it may also just make sense to re-sign Thames in that case. Even though Thames won’t produce at his 2010 level, both he and Jones project at nearly the same wOBA vs. lefties per CAIRO (Jones: .342; Thames: .340), so I suppose whoever can be had at a more reasonable deal would make the most sense. Of course, Jones — while nowhere near what he was as a youngster — should also be able to at least play passable defense, unlike Marcus, so perhaps Jones (whose CAIRO-projected 1.0 WAR bests Thames’ 0.3) would be the best overall bet.
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