The Yankee Bullpen
We’ll talk about the bullpen right now, because they’ve showed up for the season so far. Can’t say the same for the offense. I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with the Yankees bullpen this year. I hate the way it was put together and am growing weary of some pitchers, specifically Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins. Just because they’re “veterans” doesn’t mean they belong on this team. Listen Hank, you’re the Yankees, you can afford to eat the $8 million you’d lose if you cut them.
The Yankee bullpen has been used a lot early on this year, which is in line with the norm from the past few years. Despite that extensive use, the bullpen has posted a respectable ERA of 3.34 in 35 innings so far. Take out the contributions of Farnsworth and Hawkins and the bullpen ERA plummets to 1.09 in 24.2 innings.
When Girardi took over this team, he made the following statement:
I’m not a big believer that you need big league experience to be successful.
And then he proceeds to keep Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins over more deserving Scott Patterson and Jon Albaladejo. I’ve heard the reasoning that those two provide a mentoring voice for the younger relief pitchers, but that’s not a good enough reason for me. Who could provide more veteran leadership than Mariano Rivera?
When Andy Pettitte was activated from the DL a week ago, it was Albaladejo who was sent down after 2.2 scoreless innings. Not LaTroy Hawkins of the 31.50 ERA.
Farnsworth has looked better this year, although Girardi’s experiment to use him a second innings proved disastrous yesterday. He’s a one-inning pitcher at this point, and that’s it. He loses velocity from his fastball and bite on his slider after one inning of work, and therefore is useless.
Scott Patterson must be sitting in AAA wondering what else he has to do to earn a promotion over these losers. He pulled himself out of the Independent League last year and posted an ERA just above one in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year and then retired 24 of the 25 Major League hitters he faced in Spring Training.
The only silver lining I see here is that both Farnsworth and Hawkins have one year remaining on their respective deals, for $5.5MM and $3MM respectively. Those are high salaries for mediocre relief pitchers, but since they’re for only one year, they should be reasonably easy to trade to a team in desperate need of relief pitching at the deadline. And even if they can’t swap them for anything, they’ll be off the books in 2009. Thank goodness.