The Bullpen Jumble

Good evening, faithful readers.

As most of you probably know, a good bullpen probably should have more than one lefty reliever to give both lefties rest and add some extra depth for ballgames. With that being said, the Yankees acquired their second lefty for the bullpen in Boone Logan in the Vazquez-Cabrera deal with the Braves.

But I’m not sold on Boone Logan. Obviously. Why would I be?

And the Yankees still need to sort out who’s going to be in that last ‘pen spot. Here’s how the pen is looking out:

 Alfredo Aceves – A dominant Mexican pitcher who can pitch multiple innings. Aceves was pretty darn reliable for most of the year save for about one rough patch or two. He looked unimpressive for the most part in the playoffs, but he capped off his season in the World Series with two shutout frames in Philadelphia, and I’m still quite confident in his ability.

Boone Logan – A mediocre left handed reliever.

Damaso Marte – A consistently inconsistent lefty with great stuff. Dominated in the playoffs but still can’t really be depended on at this point.

David Robertson – A strikeout specialized righty who is dependable and pitched great in the playoffs. This was his first year of dominance, however.

Joba Chamberlain/Phil Hughes – I’m surprised I’m saying this, but I’d rather Joba be in the bullpen at this point. He struggled for the most part last year, the Yankees appear to never stop babying him and I’d like to see what the young Hughes is gonna do as a starting pitcher after his dominant 09 season as a relief pitcher. I’d be fine either way here though, because you can basically say the same thing for both guys. So much for Generation Tre, by the way. Ian Kennedy is a new member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Look for me to do an article about Generation Tre later on, too.

Mariano Rivera – No explanation necessary.

But who will fill out that 7 hole? Last year, it was Coke, Marte, Hughes, Robertson, Chamberlain(in the playoffs), Aceves and Mariano Rivera. But Coke is long gone and only one of the Hughes/Chamberlain duo can return, leaving us with 6.

Will the Yanks even go with 7? Some teams decide to stick with 6, I suppose. But I’d prefer a 7th, because I need a little more depth, a little more cushion in case the bullpen goes through a long stretch of a lot of work.

So the choices are Jonathan Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, and Mark Melancon. Perhaps you’d go with someone else I didn’t name.

Tell me what you think in a comment below, because I always like to see what you guys think.

Stay positive, Yankee fans.

-EJ the Kid From New York

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Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

It’s the best time of the year!

I got me the most awesome laptop the world has ever seen– complete with webcam, Windows 7 and BIG AWESOMENESS. I remember last year, during the offseason and during the Christmas season. the New York Yankees acquired Mark Teixeira, and throughout the baseball world you could hear the phrase “Marry TeX-Mas” being uttered. At the time I felt a little uncomfortable about the Yankees spending so much money all over again, and possibly being a failure despite the acquisitions.

But Teixeira, Sabathia and Burnett– who most definitely proved a lot of haters wrong by posting a healthy, effective season, especially in the playoffs– proved that the money spent by the Bombers was not an unwise investment. The Yanks acquired guys who led their team to an absolutely dominant season last offseason. Now, the real question is, will the Yankees’ new acquisitions and future ones be quite enough to bring a second consecutive trophy to the Bronx?

The simple answer is– time will tell.

In the 3-team trade between the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers, the Yankees made their first real notable acquisition, getting the 3-big money-tool center fielder Curtis Granderson, giving the Yanks outfield depth and allowing them to be more “free” so to speak in negotiations with Johnny Damon as well as Hideki Matsui, who eventually(and most heartbreakingly) signed with the Angels.

Curtis Granderson

However, in this trade, the Yankees gave up highly talented outfield prospect Austin Jackson, who the organization and its fans had been quite high on for years, as well as Phil Coke

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Austin Jackson

The Yankees’ next move was to sign former Yank in the early part of the decade Nick Johnson. The first baseman has had a history of injury problems since 06, but he can contribute to the team with veteran leadership, average defense at first base, and being able to contribute with runners in scoring position (.970 OPS, .313 batting average in such situations). He therefore allows the Yankees to have an almost-everyday designated hitter, a great backup for the slugger Mark Teixeira, and a guy with consistency when hitters start to slump. He’s the kind of guy Girardi would love, because you know he’s big on resting starters, and Johnson is ideal for resting Tex.

However, Johnson is of course injury-prone, but that’s why they have the DH.

The latest and most intriguing acquisition by the Yankees was acquiring starter Javier Vazquez from the Braves along with reliever Boone Logan for fan-favorite Melky Cabrera, prospect Michael Dunn and another minor league prospect(I forgot his name and am too lazy to look it up). Javier Vazquez pitched extremely well in 2009, with an ERA below 3 and in the league leaders in strikeouts. However, Vazquez isn’t as popular among Yankee fans– in 2004 Javy was an all-star in the first half for the Bombers but collapsed after the all-star break, and it all culminated in game 7 of the ALCS when he gave up a grand slam to Johnny Damon in relief of Kevin Brown.

And when you add giving up Melky Cabrera, you end up with some pretty ticked Yankee fans.

Stay positive, Yankee fans.

EJ the Kid From New York

EJ Is Tired of Hearing About Aroldis Chapman

Everyone falls in love with the unknown.

We saw it with Strasburg, we see it with every great prospect, and we’re seeing it in possibly it’s most naive form for Aroldis Chapman.

Who Is Aroldis Chapman?

Albertin Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz is a 22 year old Cuban lefty with a fastball clocked as high as an astounding 102 miles per hour and a devastating curveball, although any secondary pitch that is halfway decent can be considered devastating when coupling it with that heat. He wants to pitch in the major leagues and defected from Cuba in order to get to the U.S. He has entranced tons of baseball fans with his splendid potential and has been classified as one of the three best pitchers in the world who are not in the MLB – along with Stephen Strasburg and Yu Darvish.

Why is EJ Tired of Hearing About Him?

Can you guess? I mean, I know the potential is great, the stuff is outstanding, the frame– 6’4″, 180 lbs– is terrific. But people, please. He hasn’t even pitched professional baseball yet. The most experience he has in that field is pitching in the WBC, but can he truly dominate in the Majors?

What lies beneath the flashiness of Aroldis Chapman is a young, inexperienced risk, a guy who has terrific stuff but hasn’t truly harnessed it to MLB level.

Why would I want my team to spend millions upon millions of dollars on a total risk in Chapman when I could go and address my current problems with a great MLB pitcher, a Lackey, a Halladay? I get that you would want to build up and get this great pitcher in the future, but the media attention, the fascination, it’s strange to me. I don’t know why.

I would rather draft a first round starter with great stuff and bring him up through the system because he’s going to be less money, less expectation. But could you imagine the criticism if Chapman struggles and doesn’t see a day in the MLB? Come on people. Let him start against the Boston Red Sox and we’ll see then whether he is the Second Coming.

Stay positive, Yankee fans.

-EJ the Kid From New York

Who Should The Yankees Sign?

My answer could quite possibly shock you.

But I don’t care.

The New York Yankees, last year, won their 27th World Series, adding on to their professional sports leading total of national championships. But as always, this could never quench the thirst of the Steinbrenner ownership dynasty, nor general manager Brian Cashman, nor manager Joe Girardi, any of his other coaches as well as every one of the players for the Bombers. This team wants more than to win; they want to be incomprehensibly good. They want to reach new heights and shatter every standard held to a Major League Baseball team. They want history.

And I must say, so do I.

Of course, the Yankees are going to attempt to make as many improvements as they can this 09-10 offseason. They’ve already acquired multi-talented center fielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers in a three-way trade that also happened to include the Diamondbacks. You think that’s it?

That’s not it.

So, as you view this, you probably have at least a slight amount of curiousity in your mind. Who will be next?

Well, here’s who I think the Yankees should sign.

mikegonzalez.PNG

Mike Gonzalez.

You probably know who he is. 6’2″ left-handed reliever with tremendous stuff, time missed due to injury and a tendency to be wild on certain occasions. I know we’d have to pay a bunch of money. I know he’s probably going to get a bunch of criticism by having some messy outings in New York. I know there’s a chance he could be an injury bust.

But it makes sense.

With Phil Coke now a member of the Detroit Tigers after the Granderson deal, the Yankees only have one southpaw– Damaso Marte, who was great in the playoffs but has struggled otherwise– in their bullpen. The second best left-handed relief pitcher available is the 19343 year old Darren Oliver. He’s an old finesse pitcher. The punter of relief pitching. Who wants that? Wouldn’t you rather have an exciting, younger pitcher? Wouldn’t you rather have 96 mph than 86?

And before you make the “Well control pitchers pitch better because they are disciplined and have command and blah blah blah” argument, let’s take a look at the numbers.

Mike Gonzalez: 2.42 ERA

Darren Oliver: 2.71 ERA

Gonzalez is a guy who can take the loss of Phil Hughes to the rotation, the lack of Phil Coke, and say “Let’s go guys, I’ll set it up for Mariano”. Here’s a guy who can shut down batters on any given night. Here’s a guy who was a good closer and a better set up man. Is he the best reliever ever? No. But he’s a tremendous relief pitcher and his addition would allow you to say “Gonzalez in the 8th, Rivera in the 9th”.

And all I need to do is remind you of the names Kyle Farnsworth or Scott Proctor to show you how valuable that is.

Stay positive, Yankee fans.

-EJ the Kid From New York