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No Soriano, Joba means bullpen help a must for Yanks

Jun 9, 2011, 6:40 PM EDT

Who will bridge the gap to Mo? Getty Images

Now without both Joe Girardi’s designated seventh- and eighth-inning guys, the Yankees are going to be scrambling for setup help over the next two months.

The news today that Joba Chamberlain would likely need Tommy John surgery, coming on the heels of Rafael Soriano getting shut down for at least a month, leaves the Yankees without much of a bridge to Mariano Rivera the moment.

They can take heart that David Robertson has stepped up in a big way so far.  After showing plenty of potential in fanning 63 batters in just 43 2/3 innings in 2009, Robertson took a step backwards last year.  His ERA was an adequate 3.82, but he walked more than a batter every other inning and finished with a 1.50 WHIP.

This year, the walks have been even more abundant, with 18 in 23 1/3 innings.  However, he’s also fanned 38, posted a 1.16 ERA and stranded 19 of 25 inherited runners.

Unfortunately, Robertson is the only setup-type reliever the Yankees have left.  Boone Logan has decent numbers, but he’s failing as a lefty specialist (left-handers are hitting .316 off him).  Journeyman Luis Ayala has also been solid, but there’s no telling how long that it will last and he’s usually been quite vulnerable to left-handed hitters.

Help from the minors is a possibility.  Kevin Whelan has always had talent, and it looks like his control might finally be decent enough to allow him to help.  He has a 30/6 K/BB ratio and a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s closer this season.

There’s one route the Bombers don’t want to go, but it may be worth a try anyway: top prospect Manny Banuelos showed potentially dominant stuff in one- and two-inning appearances this spring.  The 20-year-old lefty currently has a 2.84 ERA in 11 starts for Double-A Trenton. Right-hander Dellin Betances would be another intriguing candidate to make a switch.  He has a 1.99 ERA in nine starts for Trenton.

The Yankees, though, aren’t going to turn to either now and might still not want to even when August rolls around.  Expect them to start going shopping at some point. Heath Bell would be very costly — the Padres would likely ask for either Banuelos or Betances in a deal — but the Yankees will inquire about both him and Mike Adams.  The A’s will have Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes and Michael Wuertz to deal if they fall completely out of the AL West race, and the Twins will likely listen on Mike Capps, though he’s not an ideal fit in Yankee Stadium.

Who knows? Maybe they could even bring in Kerry Wood for the second year in a row.  If Wood would waive his no-trade clause to play anywhere other than Chicago, a return to New York would make sense.

  1. spudchukar - Jun 9, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    Mitchell Boggs and Ryan Franklin are available as set-up guys, but I cannot think of anybody who would interest the Cards outside of Nunez, and his errant arm concerns me.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 10, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      Nunez? I can tell you as a Yankees fan that he is Alfonsio Soriano without the power. He’s a poor fielder with awful plate discipline (like most of the Yankees are these days).

      The Yanks need to fire Kevin Long, cut Jorge Posada and Andruw Jones, bring up either Jesus Montero or Jorge Vasquez to DH, hopefully get Eric Chavez back soon and send down Nunez. They also need to take Texeria out of the three spot and put Granderson there. And start benching guys for poor and lazy play. I can’t believe Brett Gardner started last night after that boneheaded play at third and so did Robinson Cano after two half-assed attempts at fielding allowed errant throws to second to get into centerfield twice. Until there are changes and accountability on this team, there are going to continue to fall in the rankings.

  2. purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    When TV sportscaster Hawk Harrelson was informed that Chamberlain will have to undergo Tommy John surgery, he reportedly said: “He Gone!”.

    • pjmarn6 - Jun 9, 2011 at 7:11 PM

      They could always trade Girardi for someone. He would make a great warm up catcher for someone’s bull pen. He certainly can’t inspire the New York Yankee team that is in existence today to perform.

      • dan1111 - Jun 10, 2011 at 4:50 AM

        I’m not a Yankees fan, but this seems a bit harsh. Girardi did lead them to a World Series championship less than two years ago. He is managing an aging team that lacks pitching depth and has been hit with injuries. In spite of this, they have done pretty well so far.

    • henryd3rd - Jun 9, 2011 at 8:56 PM

      Classless to say the least; but what can you expect from of guy who claim to fame is that corny tag line “He Gone”? Now had that been Rizzuto he would have said, “Holy Cow”. Mel Allen would have said, “How about that”. But Jack Buck might I said, “I can’t believe what I just heard”. Ernie Harwell would have said, “bad break for a nice young man”, But Yankee fans are now saying, ” Cashman what are you waiting for make a trade”!

      • purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 11:11 PM

        Don’t forget that Hawk is the one announcer single handedly keeping the old baseball expression for a routine fly ball, “can of corn”, alive too!

        Why isn’t Ca$hman making trades to shore up the pitching staff? Simple. Hank and Hal have a death-grip on their wallets!

        If it were up to Ca$hman, he NEVER would have signed RP Soriano (an even dumber move than signing Damaco Marte for three guaranteed years just like Soriano, but that was Ca$hman’s gaffe), and would have by now traded for (assuming the contracts of), an Edwin Jackson and a proven left handed reliever by now.

        Instead he’s once again forced to slum and bottom feed, having just picked up wash out Jeffrey Marquez (whoo-hoo, Yankee fans!), and I’m sure right now is busy combing the independent leagues and Mexican league looking for still more former MLB retread pitchers!

  3. henryd3rd - Jun 9, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Kerry Woods leaving the woeful Cubs makes a lot of sense. If nothing else he gets to play for a winner again and maybe get to play in the playoffs as well.

    • yankeesfanlen - Jun 9, 2011 at 8:57 PM

      The Kerry Woods would be great by me.

  4. stevem7 - Jun 9, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    “Boone Logan has decent numbers, but he’s failing as a lefty specialist (left-handers are hitting .316 off him). ”

    How can anyone with half a brain write such drivel. The man has one job … get out lefties … and they are hitting .316 against him. Boone Logan does NOT have decent numbers.

  5. bleedgreen - Jun 9, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    We’ll give em Danys Baez for Robby Cano.

  6. purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    Hey Yankees, us Dodgers will gladly trade you sore armed Jon Garland for Manny Benuelos and even sweeten the deal by throwing in Aaron Miles too!

  7. purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    Dodger fans, we can top your proposed deal. Us White Sox will gladly trade sore armed Tony Pena and Lastings Milledge for Manny Benuelos. Our deal is better because Pena doesn’t make much and Milledge is on a minor league deal… that should be FAR more attractive to cheapskates Hank and Hal!

  8. purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    Pittsburgh fan here… we just designated RP Jose Ascanio for assignment which means that you Yankees can have him for only the cost of a waiver wire claim… the kind of Dollar Store pitching buy that Hank and Hal find irresistible!

  9. banosd - Jun 10, 2011 at 8:15 AM

    Mike Capps

  10. purnellmeagrejr - Jun 10, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    Why would Kerry Wood want to come back when he took a huge pay cut to leave? What a knuckleheaded piece of conjecture that is. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ve been wondering, where should the Beatles make their first appearance when they get back together?

    • purdueman - Jun 10, 2011 at 7:13 PM

      purnel… the reason that Paul Mc Cartney reportedly is announcing a summer all stadiums concert tour is because neither George nor John are willing to leave the island out in the Pacific that they are sharing with JFK, RFK, MLK and Elvis!

      As for Yankee fans dreaming about Wood returning? As long as Hank and Hal continue to have their wallets in a death grip, the only pitching that the Yankees are going to pick up is going to come off the waiver wire, the independent leagues, softball beer leagues and possibly the Mexican League (provided any of their scouts are willing to foot the entire travel bill for driving down there and back).

    • purdueman - Jun 10, 2011 at 7:21 PM

      I forgot one thing… Jimmy Hoffa is reportedly living on the same island and with Elvis’ money and Jimmy’s connections they’re said to be living the life of Riley (luxury for those of you too young not to get the reference)!

      You are right in that Wood doesn’t want to leave Chicago (and likely has a full no trade clause in his contract in exchange for having accepted less than a third of other reported offers to go back to the Cubs, which shows that he’s not too bright as well I might add), but his former running mate Mark Prior is in the Yankees farm system and is available for call up (once he gets off the DL again, that is)!

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