Jun 9, 2011, 6:40 PM EDT
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.
- The Cardinals have moved ahead of the Brewers for first place in the National League Central 21
- No-hitter! Four Phillies pitchers combine to blank the Braves 60
- Bo Porter fired by the Astros 53
- Settling the Score: Sunday’s results — and a reminder of what Labor Day is all about 47
- Reds trade setup man Jonathan Broxton to the Brewers 18
- Miguel Cabrera sits Sunday with nagging ankle injury 13
- A’s acquire veteran slugger Adam Dunn from the White Sox 54
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 18
- Could women play major league baseball? Sure. Right now, though, the deck is stacked against them. (220)
- Albert Pujols plays the “you never played the game!” card (104)
- Great Moments in Drug Testing and Punishment: The NFL Edition (101)
- And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights (75)
- Baseball is dying, you guys, because no one would recognize Mike Trout in a bar (74)