Tag: Trevor Rosenthal

The Yankees have cornered the scrapheap for relievers

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Over the last few weeks, the Yankees have acquired Ryan Dull, David Hernandez, Trevor Rosenthal, and Cody Gearrin. None of these names are particularly exciting, but the Yankees’ front office has made its intentions clear: stockpile as many relievers as possible.

If you’re like me, you might be wondering why the Yankees are doing this when they already have an excellent bullpen. A bullpen that could add Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, and/or Deivi Garcia into the mix soon, mind you. But if we’ve learned anything from the Yankees this season, there truly never is enough depth. And, all of these relievers offer the Yankees insurance and upside.

Remember, aside from Betances, the Yankees have a few other major league caliber relievers on the shelf. Jonathan Holder, Stephen Tarpley, Jake Barrett, David Hale, and Ben Heller are all injured at the moment. None of those guys are game breakers in the way that Betances is, but all have some value in middle innings and/or low leverage roles. Someone’s gotta pitch in those situations, you know. For all intents and purposes, the Yankees have (at least temporarily) replaced those injured players with the arms mentioned at the outset of this post. It’s important insurance in case any one of the currently injured relievers can’t return this season.

These moves aren’t all about depth, though. While I suspect that’s the top priority, it’s evident that the Yankees think some of these guys have upside. Gearrin, the most recent addition, might have some room to grow according to Aaron Boone:

Boone wouldn’t get into specifics about what tweaks might be made with Gearrin, but there are “some things our guys have already seen that hopefully we can help him go to another level with.

“We think he can really help us, especially with his ability to get right-handed hitters out.’’

Dull could help too. As Steven wrote, perhaps his slider can be a weapon. That said, the former Athletic hasn’t been effective since 2016.

Hernandez was very good in 2017 and 2018, but has struggled this season. In the prior two years, Hernandez recorded a 2.80 ERA and 3.09 FIP in 119 innings. Those numbers essentially made him a top-30 reliever in the majors. Unfortunately, he’s been a far cry from that this year. Before Cincinnati let him go, Hernandez posted an ugly 8.02 ERA. Yet, his stuff hasn’t tapered off (in terms of velocity and spin rate), so there’s certainly upside here. The Yankees will have to figure out how to get his walks and home runs allowed in check, though. Those two things have derailed his season.

Then there’s Rosenthal, the former Cardinals closer. St. Louis let him go after the 2017 season, knowing that he’d miss all of 2018 with Tommy John surgery. His return to pitching has not gone according to plan. Based on the numbers, it seems like Rosenthal has no idea where the ball is going. The Nationals let him go after just 6.1 innings this season, in which he walked 16 batters, pegged 3, and threw 5 wild pitches. Detroit gave him a shot too, but his control woes continued (11 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 4 wild pitches in 9 innings). His numbers in Triple-A with both clubs are ugly too. It seems like a longshot that the Yankees can right the ship with Rosenthal, but it’s a no risk gamble to sign a former elite reliever to a minor league deal.

While these new additions allow the Yankees to hedge against their currently injured relief crop not returning, these transactions could also help the Bombers’ current slate of relief arms. Right now, Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle are on track to appear in 73 games while Zack Britton is on pace to pitch in 68. That’s a heavy workload for three guys who will be relied upon a lot in the postseason. The Yankees will need to taper all of their workloads in September and expanded rosters will certainly help. That said, the Yankees need cromulent relievers to do so. These recent signings could ameliorate that need.

Now, chances are that none of these relievers amount to much more than filler for the Yankees. That said, there’s really no harm in seeing what any of them might have left in the tank. Rosters expand next week which will allow the Yankees to dole out opportunities to these new pitchers.

News and Notes: Rosenthal, Underdog Yanks, Analytics, Octavio Dotel

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The Yanks are back after their off day. They’ll take on Oakland tonight at 10:07 pm. We’ll have you covered as usual, with a game thread and takeaways, which will go live tonight after the game ends, so check out for that.

In the meantime, here are some assorted links and news about the Yankees to hold you over to first pitch.

Yankees Sign Trevor Rosenthal

The Yankees have signed reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a minor league contract, according to Anderson Pickard. Rosenthal, was once a force for the St. Louis bullpen, sporting a 2.66 ERA in 237.0 IP from 2012-2015. He surrendered just 197 hits (11 HR) in that time, with over 300 strikeouts.

He missed all of 2018 while recovering from Tommy John, and he has been abysmal in limited time back from the injury. Rosenthal threw 15.1 innings for Washington and Detroit with a 13.50 ERA (6.87 FIP), which is pretty bad.

However, it’s pretty clear what the Yankees are thinking here. Rosenthal walked an astounding 30% of all batters he faced, which is the obvious problem he’s had this year. The rest has been fine. He’s held batters to a .208/.488/.226 line and retired more than 20% of them via punch out. He’s also clearly not allowed much hard contact.

Now, obviously, that could be because batters just never had to swing. In fact, it probably was that. But given the nature of the deal–an absolutely no-risk MiLB agreement–it’s hard to complain. It’s a no-risk move, and besides, the Yanks have really excelled at turning junk into gold. I wouldn’t hold my breath, but if Rosenthal finds his control (huge if!) he could turn into something useful, even just as an organizational arm on the Scranton Shuffle™.

Underdog Yanks

ESPN’s Sam Miller wrote a very fun piece today about the underdog Yankees. He tells a familiar story–that the Yanks have suffered an incredible amount of injuries with incredible resiliency–in a unique and interesting way befitting his writing. You should definitely check this one out. I think you’ll enjoy it. Here’s my favorite part:

So to add it all up: Had we known before the season exactly how much playing time the Yankees would distribute to the Urshelas and Tauchmans and Mike Fords and Thairo Estradas and the rest, ZiPS would have projected the Yankees to win somewhere around 84 games — around where the A’s, the Rays and the Twins were before the season. The Yankees’ front office built a team that, even with $60 million to $80 million of talent on the IL, projected to be a competitive team in the American League. If you told almost any other team in baseball that a dozen high-impact players would miss a couple thousand games, they would probably conclude they had no chance; they might conclude they were better off using the season to rebuild. The Yankees, though, were still, even on paper, contenders. What an incredible roster.

Sam Miller

That’s pretty remarkable, isn’t it? I actually didn’t realize that the Yankees would have been projected to be that good if we knew how playing time would be allocated. Separately, not sure how I missed that ZiPS projected Tauchman for  .281/.344/.438 and 1.9 WAR, but apparently it did! Whatever the Yankees saw in Tauchman, and they apparently saw something and had him on their radar for a while, the available projections saw, too. It was all of us who missed it. What an incredible roster, indeed.

Yankee Analytics Department

As usual, The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler brings us a story (subs req’d) we wouldn’t find anywhere else. This time, it’s about Christina Williamson, young member of the Yankees’ front office. Essentially, Williamson helps convey complex quantitative methods in digestible ways to the Yanks’ coaching staff. The Yanks’ head of performance science, Dave Whiteside, called it “the toughest and most important job in sports, and as Adler notes, it’s especially so as a woman in a male-dominated field.

It’s a very nice read and it’s insightful to hear the stories of the men and women who make up the Yankees “analytics department”, which is often written about and discussed as a sort of vague behind-the-scenes operation. This helps put a face to the department. Pretty cool.

Here is a notable quote from the piece, which, out of respect to the paywall, I won’t talk about too much:

But the Yankees, in particular, are interested in hiring people who bring a different perspective to the table, oftentimes someone like Williamson who would not enter the industry with the emotional baggage that accompanies many lifelong baseball fanatics.

I think that’s interesting for a lot of reasons, and one I think is encouraging. As Miller noted in the piece above, the Yanks have the largest analytical staff in the game, so it’s nice to see that they’re interested in hiring folks with different experiences and backgrounds. That’s how you create an intellectually-stimulating environment. Hopefully, we’ll see more of insight like this going forward.

Octavio Dotel Arrested in Dominican Republic

Former Yankee Octavio Dotel (remember him!) was reportedly arrested in the Dominican Republic today, along with potentially former Met (and Yankee hero) Luis Castillo, in the largest drug bust in the history of the country. (Ed Note: Castillo’s agent denies he was arrested). Their role in the matter was unclear, though they are “linked” to a criminal operation supposedly run by the man who called the shots on the botched assassination attempt of David Ortiz.

Both former players have a Yankee connection, so I figured it was worth a mention. Dotel, in case you forgot, pitched 10 innings for the 2006 Yankees (an underrated fun team!) but was horrible. He had a 10.80 ERA in August and September for the Bombers. It was nothing to write home about, though I remembered it, for some reason.

Castillo, of course, contributed to one of the most memorable moments from the very memorable 2009 season. It needs no introduction, just a video. Enjoy:

Shout out to Mark Teixeira for absolutely busting his ass from first to home on a pop-up nearly all of us could have caught, eventually scoring the winning run. I distinctly remember watching this game, and I suspect I always will. If you watched it live, you probably will, too.

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