David Aardsma, signed by the Cleveland Indians on a minor league deal, was released by the team.
Aardsma, 32, is a former 22nd overall draft pick in 2003, and made his debut in 2004 with the San Francisco Giants. After stops in Boston and both Chicago clubs, Aardsma settled into the comfy confines of Safeco Field in Seattle. In 2009 and 2010, he compiled 69 saves while logging a 2.90 ERA on terrible Mariners’ teams. Unfortunately, he developed an arm injury, and needed Tommy John surgery, shutting down his next two years, except for 1 inning with the Yankees late in 2012. Recently, he pitched with the Mets, throwing in 43 games with a 4.31 ERA, while letting up 7 homers and 19 walks.
Despite his release, Aardsma hasn’t pitched poorly this spring. In six innings, he has only allowed two earned runs. If the Yankees feel like they could use another right-handed pitcher out of the bullpen, then it may be worth it for the organization to offer Aardsma a minor league contract. Even though he can’t reach 97 mph on the radar gun anymore, Aardsma still hits in the low-to-mid 90s consistently. His situation is similar to that of new Yankee Andrew Bailey, also a really good closer who fell prey to the injury bug. However, Bailey is younger at age 29.
If the Yanks don’t sign Aardsma, other cheap pitching options include Joel Hanrahan and Ryan Madson. Hanrahan, Bailey’s former teammate, also is recovering from an arm injury. A former fireballer, he made two consecutive All-Star game appearances in 2011 and 2012. Madson was the former Phillies’ closer before he also developed arm injuries. He used to be a great player, highlighted by a 32-save 2011, but hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since then.
Sure, Aardsma isn’t the most dazzling hurler in the free agency pool, but as the Oakland Athletics will attest, a team can never have enough pitchers.