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Bringing the Sturtze Down on the Pen
2005-05-02 08:54
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Tanyon Sturtze, who is eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow, will work two or three innings in an extended spring training game in Tampa today and rejoin the team at the Tropicana Dome tomorrow. This means a roster move is imminent, but looking at the Yankees' pen, exactly what that move will be is not obvious.

Despite what Joe Torre might have said (and I'm still not sure he wasn't kidding) the Yankees are not going to reduce their bench to three men in order to carry 13 pitchers. On the other hand, Sturtze's return in and of itself does not force the team to scale back to eleven (as the Devil Rays have recently done, as we'll see later today). That said, now might be a good time to package two relievers in a trade to both clear room for Sturtze and get down to six men in the pen in one foul swoop. If that were the case, Mike Stanton would be staying, because he has a no trade clause, though he could still be bought out and released.

This is a popular topic in the press, as well it should be, though no one seems to have anything resembling a clue as to who's on the way out. Tom Gordon and Buddy Groom, who can't be returned to Columbus without passing through waivers, appear to be safe, and obviously Mo isn't going anywhere, but there are mixed reports on Stanton and the remaining three--Steve Karsay, Paul Quantrill, and Felix Rodriguez--are anybody's guess.

Check the stats here and let us know in comments who you think should go. I'll chime in later.

Comments
2005-05-02 09:45:01
1.   Simone
Can the Yankees trade any of these guys? The Rangers are looking for a reliever.
2005-05-02 09:53:17
2.   JohnnyC
I would trade Rodriguez and Karsay. Of course, pretty much all of their contracts would be paid by Steinbrenner. In return, if we could get a young arm or outfield prospect... Rodriguez might interest the Giants (where he has some history at least)but Karsay will be a tough nut to crack.
2005-05-02 09:58:12
3.   rsmith51
I predict the Yanks do something really dumb. If I were Cashman et. al. I would trade Gordon for Cameron. I like Gordon, but I think he is bound to have an off year. The Yankees up the middle defense needs some help. I think Gordon + cash is enough to get Cameron since Diaz is hitting pretty well. The Cubs also have a need for a good reliever.

I would guess the Yanks gets some aging CF to band-aid the CF problem and won't address the 2B situation, though if they wait for Cano, I am OK with that.

2005-05-02 10:07:08
4.   Mike K
I was never a big fan of Ramiro Mendoza. I dont have any stats to support it and Im probably flat out wrong to say it, but when ever he entered a game with inherited runners on base they always seemed to score, which would never be revealed in his numbers. This is probably just my bias, but I couldnt stand him.

Paul Quantrill is the new Ramiro Mendoza. Case in point..yesterday. Three inherited runners, all three score. Now I know he wasnt getting a fair deal with the bases loaded with no outs, but there is absolutely no reason why 1 maybe even two of those runners should score. I cringe when ever he is brought in a game. I would dump him in an instant.

2005-05-02 10:07:12
5.   KJC
Question: Which Yankee pitchers (relievers and starters) are not under contract for 2006?
2005-05-02 10:18:02
6.   Athos
To me, it's rather clear that Karsay & Rodriguez should go. I believe that although Quantrill's K/9 avg is low, he seems to culture the type of hits that turn into quick outs, hence the low ERA. Like many, I really would like to see more emphasis placed upon the farm system. Can one imagine what it would be like to direct some of that 200 million away from other teams and into AAA, AA & A?
2005-05-02 10:58:29
7.   Clay Caviness
Problem with a put-it-in-play guy like Quantrill is that, well, he's putting it in play right into the stone hands of the Yankee defense.

As for pitchers and relievers not under contract next year, Kevin Brown is done, as is Tom Gordon, Buddy Groom, Felix Rodriguez, and Mike Stanton. Karsay's contract has a buyout of $1.25M, and the Yankees have already bought out Quantrill's option for next season at $400K. Sturtze has a $1.5 team option for 2006 ($150k buyout).

I probably missed some others, but that's about it.

We're paying Clemens about $1M/year while he pitches in Houston until 2014, too.

2005-05-02 11:41:18
8.   Marcus
The Cubs and Giants are looking for closers. Possibly the Mets and the Cardinals too, with Isringhausen hurt. Texas is looking for help in middle relief.

With these options, you've got to explore a trade involving Gordon. He's got the most value, and he's been an effective closer before. The other available options potentially on the market are likely Urbina in Detroit, Danys Baez in Tampa Bay, and possibly Jorge Julio in Baltimore, although they might not want to part with Julio now that they are doing so well.

I'd rather see someone else get traded, but Gordon would bring the most in return, it would seem to me.

2005-05-02 12:14:14
9.   Jason Wojciechowski
Why not trade Sturtze?
2005-05-02 12:15:46
10.   Cliff Corcoran
Thanks, Clay, saved me the typing. So basically, the only reliever with a guaranteed deal for next year is Mo. Two have club options (buy outs: Karsay $1.25 mil, Sturtze $150K). Quantrill has already been bought out. And the rest are free agents.

Marcus, I think the Orioles are having trouble shopping Julio because he's not that good. Their decision to make Ryan the closer is one part of their surprising season that's being greatly overlooked.

2005-05-02 12:53:09
11.   brockdc
Other than Gordon, do any of these other guys have actual trade value at this point in their careers? If we traded Gordon, Torre would be forced to mix and match EVEN MORE. Scary thought.
2005-05-02 13:02:59
12.   singledd
I'm not concerned about 2nd base... as long as Womack isn't too much below average. 2nd basemen don't miss doubles and triples, or let men score that shouldn't. Center fielders do. We need a Cameron type guy in CF. I love Bernie, but this team is not good enough to carry his D, and his O will probably not be much either.
2005-05-02 13:07:44
13.   markp
Quantrill and Gordon are the only ones we're likely to get anywhere near value for-I think Torre's overuse of Flash has made him fairly inneffective, but if we were to trade them right now, the people we're trading them to might not be aware of it.

Of course Torre won't sign off on either of them so it's highly unlikely either is going anywhere. You'd think after him turning down Edmonds for Mendoza the front office would've stopped listening to him, but we now have Womack, Stanton, Sanchez, and Flaherty getting lots of PT because of Joe.

I do like the idea of Cameron, and with Diaz emergence the Met's fans and the media are ragging on him and his Ks again.

I think Karsay can be an excellent set-up man, but only if used properly-more often than he is, but not as often as Flash and MO last year. And that's the real problem. It doesn't matter who stays or goes when the BP is as poorly managed as ours has been since 2001 or so.

2005-05-02 13:47:02
14.   Nick from Washington Heights
Anyone else notice that the Yanks outperformed their Pythagorean win total by 11 games last year? Doesn't that imply that Torre did a good job of maximizing the team performance? Maybe not. I don't know. But, not that I'm not occasionally exasperated by Torre's annoying moves, I think we shouldn't overstate his poor performance as a manager. The Yanks' futility has been rooted in its poor pitching and sporadic hitting. These are issues mainly of execution. If there is a person to lay the blame on besides the aging players, it's whoever was responsible for this off-season. I'd say Cash, but Cashman apologists point to his powerlessness as a defense. So, then it's the Boss and his Tampa morons, who bought into 1-year wonders like those A&R suckers bought into those 1-hit sensations, Escape Club. Ah. Escape Club! What a poor follow-up to your debut classic!
2005-05-02 13:55:42
15.   MikeK
Deal the lot of them.
2005-05-02 14:27:27
16.   strangeluck
I say trade Karsay, Quantrill, and Rodriguez, and bring on Bean. Of course, thats not likely to happen, so if you're only going to get rid of two, then make it Karsay and Quantrill, as Rodriguez probably has the best chance of being effective in front of the Yankee defense, and has the added bonus of being effective against lefties as well as righties.
2005-05-02 20:23:27
17.   brockdc
I'd definitely like to see F-Rod (okay, bad nickname) get some more reps. He seems to have the best raw stuff of any non-Gormo reliever.

Mike K,

...But for WHOM? Who would want to be saddled with any of these Lee Guttermans. Unless the Yanks want to take on ANOTHER bad contract.

Nick,

You may have just inadvertantly nailed one of the Yankees' most confounding issues. Shouldn't there ultimately be ONE GUY who is responsible for building a franchise i.e. Beane in Oakland, Epstein in Boston, Minaya, Alderson, etc.?

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