Thursday, November 4, 2010

2010 Yankee Report Cards Part II: The Bullpen

* Mariano Rivera- A: Another gem of a season from the ageless wonder: 33 saves, 1.80 ERA, 0.83 WHIP in 60 innings of regular season work, then another scoreless 6.1 innings with only 4 baserunners allowed and 3 saves in the postseason.  As usual, Rivera was the one shining constant in the always treacherous seas that are the Yankee bullpen and continues to put up numbers at age 40 that are so much better than what 99% of relievers can put up in their primes that it really isn't funny anymore.

* Dave Robertson- B-: Started off the season horribly (14.21 ERA on May 5, 7.31 ERA at the end of May), but was lights out for the remainder of the regular season, finishing up with a respectable 3.82 ERA for the season.  Some of his peripherals are still impressive (10.42K/9) but 33 walks in 61.1 innings killed him and he melted down in the ALCS.  With Kerry Wood unlikely to come back next season, D-Rob will be the early favorite as Mo's setup man but needs to show some improvement over the last 2 seasons to keep the job.

* Joba Chamberlain- C-: The long, strange journey for Joba took another turn for the worst this season.  Like D-Rob, Joba had some impressive peripherals (less than 1 hit per IP, 9.67 K/9), but showed a frustrating inability to pitch well in close games and to limit damage on days where he didn't have his best (cough, cough, Brian Bruney, cough cough!!).  By season's end he had fallen so far down Joe's depth chart that he was a postseason afterthought in the bullpen pecking order.  For a season that could have been his last in pinstripes, it was nothing to write home about for Joba.

* Boone Logan- B: After a rough patch to start the year and a demotion to Triple-A, Boone Logan came back to replace Marte as the lefty specialist out of the 'pen and didn't disappoint.  He rattled off 25 consecutive scoreless outings from July to September and finished with a respectable sub-3.00 ERA and only .85 H/IP.  He, like pretty much everybody else in the bullpen, gave up too many walks, but Logan should start next year as the #1 lefty in the 'pen and has certainly earned that right with the way he pitched for the majority of 2010.

* Sergio Mitre- C+: After making a few early-season starts, Mitre settled into his role as the main long man in the 'pen after the loss of Aceves.  His numbers look good (3.33 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), but Mitre didn't miss a lot of bats and didn't log a lot of high-pressure innings, so you can't put a whole lot of weight into what he did.  And then there's the whole business of turning into a home run derby pitcher in the postseason, so yeah.  He's basically an innings eater who did what he was supposed to do so he gets an average grade from me.

* Kerry Wood- A: Hands down the best move Cash made at the deadline, Wood was money from the time he put on the Yankee uniform.  He was effectively wild at all times, allowing more walks (18) than hits (14) in his 26 regular season innings of work, but he worked out of trouble and missed a lot of bats (10.73 K/9).  That effective wildness carried over to the postseason where Wood was the only pitcher not named Mo to completely shit the bed.  He wouldn't be a bad part to have in the 'pen in 2011, but he'll be too expensive.  For what they brought him in to do and for what they gave up to get him, though, Wood was everything you could ask for and then some.

* Chad Gaudin- C-: He's like Sergio Mitre Version 0.2.  He serves the same purpose but doesn't do the job as well.  Joe rode him in September, possibly as a postseason audition, but in the end Gaudin just wasn't good enough.  His second stint with the Yankees went much like the first and I wouldn't expect him to break camp with the team next year.

* Alfredo Aceves & Damaso Marte- I: Ace was effective in his limited work (3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP in 12 innings) while Marte wasn't (11 BB in 17.2 IP), but neither gets an actual grade because of the injuries that shortened their seasons.  Getting Aceves back for 2011 would be a big boost to the 'pen, but I'm not holding my breath on getting anything from Marte, who becomes the latest in the long line of bad Yankee bullpen signings.

* Chan Ho Park- F-: I hate Chan Ho Park so fucking much that I can barely even describe it.  How he lasted as long as he did in a Yankee uniform is beyond me.  5.60 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 7 HR allowed in just 35.1 innings.  "Fuck" and "you," sir.  The most productive thing he did in a Yankee uniform was get diarrhea.  Thankfully, this is the last time I will ever have to mention him on this blog.

** Check back tomorrow for the rotation report cards **

Taking Stock Of The Current Rotation Situation

Those Locked In

- CC Sabathia: Recovering from recent knee surgery to repair his meniscus tear, the big fella was seen walking without a limp at the Nets game last night.  He's scheduled to begin a 3-6 week rehab stint to get ready for Spring Training 2011.  All looks well so far after surgery but the revelation by Joe  that he had dealt with the knee injury all year in 2010 has to be a concern going forward.

- A.J. Burnett: In all likelihood he will be relegated to at least the 4th starter role next year after this season's debacle.  A change at pitching coach could bring improvement next season.  Shit, it would be hard to not improve on last year's numbers, new pitching coach aside.  He'll be in the mix next year because of his hefty contract, but his 2011 performance could determine how much longer the Yanks are willing to put up with him.

- Phil Hughes: Probably still taking some time off after his career-high workload this season.  All restrictions should come off next year as far as innings and Phil will be expected to make improvements on his weaknesses from 2010 and become the likely 3rd starter.  The changeup needs to become a part of the everyday arsenal next year.

The Internal Question Mark

- Andy Pettitte: The post-ALCS story about Andy's postseason injury woes casts a dark cloud over the possibility of his return next season.  He's surely doing the family thing right now and will probably take a few more weeks to decide what his plans are for 2011.  Given how badly he broke down at the end of this season I don't expect him to go through that again.

The Big Free Agent Prize

- Cliff Lee: sitting at home licking his wife's wounds from her Yankee Stadium treatment and getting ready to hit the open market with a big payday on the horizon.  I still don't think he will get CC money (7 years/$161 million), but he'll certainly get north of 20 mil per year, especially with the Yankees making the biggest push for him.  No way he doesn't get the best offer from the Yanks, whether he decides to take that is up to him.

The Internal Backup Plan

- Ivan Nova: The most likely candidate to take the 5th rotation spot should Andy decide not to come back a/o Lee decide to not take the money.  Nova was like a mini-Phil Hughes last year in his first Major League work experience, flashing brilliant stuff and a willingness to attack hitters, but failing to change his approach the 2nd and 3rd times through the lineup.  Even if he doesn't break camp in the rotation in 2011, he will be the first one to fill in if/when injuries strike, so he'll be expected to produce.

The External Backup Plans

- Zack Greinke: According to the latest rumors, Greinke said he wouldn't accept a trade to the Bronx, but the Royals might feel differently depending on the package the Yankees offer.  I know Greinke is a stud and entering his prime, but I would have serious reservations about giving up some top prospects and possibly Gardner for a potential headcase.  We've seen guys who didn't have SAD wilt under the NY media spotlight.

- Hiroki Kuroda: Would really only be considered if Pettitte and Lee don't end up in pinstripes, but I know I wouldn't want him.

- Jake Westbrook: See above.

The FA Injury Risks

- Erik Bedard & Chris Young:  Both officially hit the open market after not having options picked up by their teams yesterday.  The Yanks have shown interest in Bedard in the past, but after not going after similar cases in Ben Sheets and Justin Duchsherer last season I can't see either of these guys getting consideration unless absolutely everything else fell through. 

The Unthinkable

- Javy Vazquez: Don't even think about it!!