A little roster shakeup

ransom250.jpgSCRATCH THAT PITCHING DIET
As per George King, the Yankees have called up Anthony Claggett as protection for another blink-and-you-miss-it Sergio Mitre start. So much for my suggestion earlier today that the team experiment with a streamlined, 11-man pitching staff. Instead, Mitre necessitates a baker’s dozen. As Roger Daltey sang in “Who Are You,” “There’s got to be another way.” And then he swore.

Cody Ransom, meanwhile, has finally earned his letters: DFA. Ransom provides one of baseball’s best lessons, one that you can apply to just about anything: “Don’t get excited over small samples.” Ransom’s 2008 performance, .302/.400/.651 with four home runs in 43 at-bats, represents little more than the coin coming up heads over and over again for a small space of time. Some would say Ransom earned himself a chance with that performance, but the truth is that it shouldn’t have been a very long one given his age and track record. There are a few players out there–Mark Reynolds comes to mind-who are skilled enough hitters to survive an unusually high strikeout rate. When they do make contact, they do so solidly enough that good things happen a high percentage of the time. Ransom isn’t good enough to overcome the kind of pressure his strikeout rate puts on him. This year only 15 percent of his balls in play have been line drives, which means his batting average on balls in play is only .278. In short, he didn’t put balls in play very often due to the strikeout rate, and when he did put them in play nothing happened.  

In the long term, the Yankees are going to need to get back down to 12 pitchers tops, and that could mean the return of Ramiro Pena. Austin Jackson would make more sense, given that the Yankees require a practiced centerfield reserve more than they need a kid with not very much offense and less experience in the pastures. There are only three weeks left in the Minor League season. If Jackson spends most of that time on the New York bench, it couldn’t possibly set him back in any permanent way, and might possibly help.

Of course, until the Yankees find a way to get more than three innings out of their fifth starter, that last roster spot is probably moot. The sad thing is that in the postseason, the fifth starter won’t matter one bit–you could practically send the guy home. The irony, then, is that they’ll need that guy, whoever he is, to make a contribution if they’re going to get to the postseason. In a word: woof.

3 Comments

This is one of the greatest days in the storied histort of the New York Yankees.

Overstating aside, the bottom of the roster has been a disaster for much of the season. And it took way too many moves to arrive at the designation of Ransom for Assignment. Way too many.

I had JUST finished crying yesterday from when Shelly Duncan was called up and sent down without any chance to play, leaving “that player” on the Yankee’s major league roster. Now today, I awoke to see this roster move and cheered as streams of joy streamed down my face.

Unfortunately our fifth starter will be very important — if the Yankees are serious about removing Joba from the rotation. Then the 5th starter becomes the 4th starter, and could have a couple of starts in the ALCS and the World Series, if we able to get that far for the first time in a number of years. And of course when Joba gets shut down, we’ll need another 5th starter. It’s almost as if we know in advance we’re about to have an injury in the rotation.

If there’s anyone out there who’s happy about the possibility of Sergio Mitre or Anthony Claggett or Kei Igawa having to make those starts, or even a far less scary Alfredo Acevas making an October start, you are either a blood relative of one of those pitchers or a Red Sox fan. We obviously need at least one, preferrably two, major league pitchers added to this roster sooner rather than later.

I’d almost be happy to try to pry someone out of retirement, like Glavine or even Mussina, rather than trust any of those other options in the postseason. Hell, I’d think I’d swallow hard and ask Cleveland what they’d want for Pavano before I’d put Mitre on the postseason roster. He’s at least a major league pitcher with postseason experience. These are obviously the rantings of a desperate fan.

If worse comes to worse and we once again get swept by the Red Sox, it will at least have two advantages — it’ll prompt the team to act to get pitching help, and it will allow us to get a pitcher through waivers without the also pitching-thin Red Sox putting in a claim on the pitcher. Right now there’s no chance that Boston would let a John Garland get to us, even if we were stupid enough to let Paul Byrd go to them through waivers last year. But if we get swept, they can’t do anything to stop us. Not that I’m hoping for that disgusting possibility. I’m just saying it would be the silver lining.

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