Another week, another Yanks Go Yard Roundtable. This time we ask our writers who they would replace in the bullpen. The New York Yankees bullpen has been pretty bad over the past month and half, so it’s time for each of our inner-GMs to come out and show Brian Cashman how to properly fill a bullpen. Before we start, there are a few caveats:
- Can’t trade or sign anyone from outside the organization
- They do not need to be on the 40-man, but you must DFA somebody to make room if they are.
For me, the answer is Derek Lowe. He served a useful purpose as a long-man when Ivan Nova was shut down and Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia were placed on the DL, moving Freddy Garcia and David Phelps into starting roles. Now that Nova/Pettitte/CC have returned, Garcia has been bumped from the rotation and back to the bullpen. Assuming Pettitte returns sometime next week, that will still leave six starters for five sports.
Someone else will likely shake out of the rotation and be designated for relief, as well. Numbers alone won’t allow Lowe to stay. Speaking of numbers, Lowe’s line has been awful: in 11.1 IP, he’s allowed seven runs (6 earned) and 17 hits with a WHIP of 1.676. Lowe was a space-filler while the rest of the pitching staff got healthy. Now that it (hopefully) has, it’s time to thank Lowe for the help, and send him on his way.
From a process of elimination, I’d have to say Joba. It’s not that I want to necessarily get rid of him, but he’s really struggled since coming back. He’s had a few solid outings, but for the most part, it’s been rough for him. I’m not sure what exactly has done Joba in, but all I can say is if he continues to give up runs in crucial games, he’s not going to be on the team much longer. I’m not saying the Yankees necessarily have any ready options to replace him, but I suppose the one arm we could use more in place of Joba is Adam Warren. I’d hate to do that to Warren though because I believe he has a lot of starting potential come 2013.
I would replace Cody Eppley. Yes, I know he hasn’t been awful. He’s not garnering a lot of attention from anyone really, and for good reason. He’s been exceptionally average this year with a 3.46 ERA and 3.60 FIP and if he kept this up, I would have no problem keeping him on the roster. However, I don’t think he’ll keep this up. Eppley had close to a 4.00 ERA in over 80 innings in AAA. This is his first full year in the majors, and completely subjectively, I just don’t think he looks like an effective pitcher. Yes, his delivery is unusual, and I’m no scout, so I could be wrong. But ZiPS projects him to have a 5.14 ERA going forward, and I’m just not willing to take that risk when a playoff game is on the line.
I would replace Eppley with Cory Wade. I know, I know, he’s been quite awful this year. He has close to a 6 ERA and is giving up a ton of homers. However, not only has he been effective in the majors already, but all the peripherals point to a solid performance going forward. Wade’s strikeouts and lack of walks, leading to a 3.00 SIERA, makes him a more valuable pitcher than Eppley, despite the results so far.
If I could replace one bullpen arm it would be Derek Lowe. Not only has he been garbage for the Yanks since they got him (six earned runs, 1.676 WHIP, 90 ERA+ in 11.1 innings), but he always reminds me of 2004 whenever he takes the mound. Is it fair to judge him on such a small sample size or for something that happened eight years ago? No. Do I care? No. DFA his arse ASAP.
To take his spot I would call up Mark Montgomery. He’s young — 22 years old, only thrown 92.2 innings in the minors — but he’s already at double-A and has pretty good numbers so far — 55 hits, 17 earned runs, one homer, 35 walks to 150 (!!!) strikeouts with a .971 WHIP in his 92.2 frames.
I can’t imagine that success would carry over to the big leagues, but why not see what this kid’s got? I’m all for anything that gets Derek Lowe off the roster.
I’m taking the easy route, because in all honesty, I do not see many true issues with this bullpen right now. The Yankees will utilize their top men from here on and often to ensure reaching the postseason. I would have said Joba Chamberlain if this question was asked two weeks ago, but he’s looking more and more reliable with each appearance. So, I will say thanks for the initial four innings of brilliance to Derek Lowe. He helped get us a win in during his first trip to the mound in pinstripes and has made them bleed since.
There doesn’t seem to need to be a big move here. With Ivan Nova’s performance yesterday and Andy Pettitte’s return on Tuesday, it would be easy to slot David Phelps or even Freddy Garcia into a long man role. I would do it in that order for any game of importance from here on and into the postseason.
So YGY readers, who are you getting rid of in the Yankees bullpen, if any? Let us know in the comments!