Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Yankees Re-Boot their Pitching Staff

posted by Jon Williams

Sometimes I wonder why the Yankees (and every other big market team) have to see things fail before they make the moves that seem so obvious to me and I'm certain many others. The Yankees finally placed Chien-Ming Wang on the disabled list to give him time to re-build his arm strength. Brian Bruney and Cody Ransom also hit the disabled list. They recalled closer of the future Mark Melancon and the talented David Robertson to fill roles in the bullpen. Angel Berroa who looked great this spring had to wait for Cody Ransom of all people to get hurt before getting a job.

I thought it was obvious at the end of the 2008 season that those two players would have big roles to play in the 2009 bullpen. It also seemed as if the Yankees knew it too. But rather than give them jobs to start the season they insist on working with lesser talents and blow a few games before doing what they knew months ago they would do eventually. But maybe I'm missing some subtle ability in Cody Ransom and some skill that Robertson and Melancon were missing that a few weeks in the minor leagues solved...

Owners in American League-only should grab Melancon as soon as possible. He should take over the eighth inning role this season and eventually replace Mariano Rivera as the Yankees closer. David Robertson is another option for the Yankees that I like a lot. He has great stuff and should provide strikeouts in bunches. He has control issues at times like most young pitchers but has shown improvement lately. The Yankees released Humberto Sanchez which seemed unnecessary to me. I can think of a few names I would rather dump before giving up on him. Though again, the Yankees probably have some information I don't. Seriously, they probably do.

Phil Hughes, who I suggested to anyone who listened as a bullpen candidate out of spring training, is expected to get the call on Tuesday to start in Wang's spot. He is probably getting two starts on the road which is not really a bad thing. I sincerely believe that Hughes will never ride a minor league bus again. I'll be picking him up in every league possible. It wasn't so long ago that Hughes was more highly thought of than Joba Chamberlain.

Speaking of Joba...the Yankees need to stop babying him so much. I respect that they want to be responsible with his arm and put restraints on his pitch counts but I think its holding him back. From watching him, I think Joba pitches better when his arm is well stretched. In the bullpen he always seemed to pitch better when he had multiple outings in a week. When he went long stretches his control would leave him. This is not an argument that he should return to the pen. But rather that the Yankees should extend his pitch count a little and stop skipping him in the rotation. I still love Joba as a fantasy option he just won't do much good for fantasy owners or the Yankees until they stop treating him with kid gloves.

Mark Melancon Statistics


Mark Melancon Profile


Mark Melancon Spring Report

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Forrest said...

Yes, you are absolutely right about Phil Hughes. Like you, I also rostered him in every single league I possibly could. I think he could have an immediate breakout season, pending he gets the innings.

People have been asking me if they should cut Tommy Hanson for him, and in redraft leagues, I don't think there's any question.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 1:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jon Williams said...

Hey Forrest, I agree with you 100 percent. I love Tommy Hanson but he has not gone through the transition to MLB from MiLB that Hughes has. In keeper leagues it would be a tougher decision but my gut would still go with Hughes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 10:49:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dave Zahniser said...

Jon,
Would you grab Melancon, or keep Andrew Bailey?
Dave

Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 2:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jon Williams said...

That's a tough one. I really like both. Bailey has a better chance at saves this season but long-term I would go with Melancon.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 3:39:00 PM EDT  

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