The first piece of the Yankee deadline puzzle seems to be in place, as Ken Davidoff reported last night that the Bombers will be adding J.C. Romero today. In the never-ending quest to find reliable left-handed relief pitching, this is probably the best option in terms of committing money or players to a viable arm, but still, this does more to shed light on just how crappy the Yankees' current options are than to make their bullpen better.
Romero has never been one to light the world on fire with his stuff or his command, and this year has been no different. In 16.1 MaL innings with the Phillies, Romero has put up just a 5.51 K/9 while straight up walking the fucking yard with his 6.61 BB/9. He gets by by managing to limit the damage of all the runners he puts on base, but his real value is as a lefty specialist and the splits support that. He has a 3.46 FIP and 8.23 K/9 against lefties in career vs. 5.25 and 6.68 against righties in his career, and this year has been more of the same, with a 2.39 FIP and 8 K in 7 IP vs. lefties and a 5.24 FIP and 2 K in 9.1 IP vs. righties (small sample size alert!!).
Those numbers become more attractive when you look at the internal lefty candidates. Randy Flores' stats in Triple-A look decent (2.95 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 3/1 K/BB in 21.1IP), but he's scuffled lately and has never bee able to hang full time in anybody's bullpen since 2002. And Brad Halsey, after a strong start in Double-A, has come crashing back to Earth and now sits at a 5.85 ERA, 4.46 FIP, and a Romero-esque 6.28 BB/9. Basically, if you're the Yankees and you're going to be eating off the steamed shit section of the buffet, why not take the best looking pile (Romero)?
The biggest thing to take from this latest move, should it become official today, is that the organization still doesn't have faith in Boone Logan. He was better in June than he was in the first 2 months, but he still does nothing to inspire confidence when he's out on the mound (see: 1st-pitch plunking of Hafner against Cleveland), and the fact is he hasn't been good at getting lefties out. 14 Ks in 13.2 IP against lefties looks nice, but 21 baserunners allowed is just not good enough, and his FIP against lefties is over a full run higher than against righties. Any way you cut it, that sucks.
Make no mistake, a move to get Romero is definitely scraping from the bottom of the barrel. But when that's really where the Yankees already are in terms of the left-handed relief pitching, why not take another cheap chance to improve?
** UPDATE- 12:57PM- It's official. Romero has signed with the Yankees. He might be headed to SWB to pitch tonight. **