The Yankees depended a lot upon their bullpen in 2013. One of the things that was surprising in September was that those who had performed so well until then began to fall apart but, thankfully, a new group of relief pitchers came up from the minors to take up the slack. Let’s see who benefitted from the roster expansion and who needed to be bailed out…..
|New York Yankees – Pitching – Month – September|
Matt Daley. Matt Daley had already had an interesting journey in baseball prior to arriving with the Yankees in September. In his early major league exposure he produced run-less stints with both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies but when this early success did not last, he found himself assigned to the minors. Eventually this decline led to rotator cuff surgery but whether this injury began the decline or occurred whilst in the minors is something we’ll never know. Anyway, a minor league contract from the Yankees followed on from his return from the injury. On his return he did well enough at Scranton-Wilkes Barre to be considered for a call-up. In September, he was promoted to the majors and since arriving he has been a huge success. 7 appearances, 6 innings pitched, no runs, no walks and only 2 hits. It is likely that he will have to prove himself all over again in Spring Training (especially with his injury prone past) but he will go into that scenario with the upper hand.
Mariano Rivera. Someone who will never need to prove himself again is Mariano Rivera who (sadly) has now retired from Major League Baseball but he went out on a high of the similar kind that he spent his 19 years at this level. Being feted at each ground he visited would have turned the head or distracted a lesser master of his craft but Mo took it all in his stride and gave up only 3 runs across 14 innings and no walks
Adam Warren. Warren has had patchy year but September was one of his best periods of pitching. Achieving two wins and a 1.93 ERA, he was third in WHIP and is a strong candidate for the long relief spot in next year’s squad.
Andy Pettitte. Another retiree, Pettitte also closed out his career in a solid fashion particularly in his final game on his other old stomping ground in Houston. Along with Ivan Nova he had a complete game victory and an equal Win-Loss record of 1-2. I chose Pettitte over Nova partly because of sentimentality but also because of his considerable superiority in ERA.
Shawn Kelley. Kelley has done well this season without ever being truly outstanding but it all fell apart from him in September. In half-a-dozen appearances, he pitched only 3 and a third innings and gave up 7 hits and 2 walks leading to a massive six runs. Kelley is arbitration eligible for the next two seasons and may have some value in the marketplace but he must do better than he did in September if he is to return in ’14.
Preston Claiborne. Claiborne managed to exactly match Kelley’s dire ERA of 16.20 in September but Claiborne’s decline is even steeper since he had a much better of time of it in April and May than Kelley. Claiborne figures to be with the Yankees in 2014 but the late season decline is worrying.
Boone Logan. Another pitcher who had been solid out of the bullpen throughout the year but then saw it all turn to dust at season-end was left-hander Boone Logan. He wasn’t much used in September but when he was he was pretty awful.
Joba Chamberlain. In 2013, Chamberlain never had a good month to set a standard to fall away from. His contract is up (he “earned” $1.88 million in 2013) and surely no effort will be made to bring him back.
Brett Marshall. So with the arms who had served the Yankees so well all season through August falling apart, the Bombers needed to add extra guys to the bullpen and needed the new faces to come up trumps and in the case of people like Brett Marshall that’s just what they did. Marshall only pitched in two games but in relatively long stints on the mound, he showed he was not easy rattled and will be worthy of consideration of a more permanent role going into 2014.
Cesar Cabral. Likewise, Cabral who has previously seen major league service with Boston. As a left-handed specialist, his appearances were much shorter than Marshall’s but he proved just as capable and a much better choice than Logan during this final month. Whether this will tempt the Yankees to attempt to re-sign him for 2014 remains to be seen.
CC Sabathia. Sabathia was improved in September and produced a 2-2 month with a WHIP of 1.48. However, the Yankees have Sabathia under contract for a further three years at an average of $24 million per season and must be praying that he will return to a much more consistent performance in 2014.
David Robertson. David Robertson had an ideal opportunity to prove his credentials for the now vacant closer’s role in the Pinstripe line-up. He even had the current incumbent, Rivera, speaking up for him and arguing for his suitability and strengths. But out on the field Robertson was suffering one of his periodic dips and this one came at the worst time. Usually this happens when Robertson’s strikeout total drops lower than his innings pitched total and this time was no exception. It resulted in a 4.82 ERA and with Robertson as an arbitration-eligible free agent, anything could happen now.