On Thursday, David Carpenter, who was designated for assignment by the Yankees on June 3 because he wasn’t effective, was traded to the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor-league infielder Tony Renda. According to Baseball America, Renda was the Nationals’ No. 12 prospect after the 2014 season. That is a lot of value to get for a player who was designated for assignment.
Renda was the Nationals’ No. 12 ranked prospect after the 2012 season and the No. 13 ranked prospect after the 2013 season. He is a 24-year-old from Santa Rosa, CA, who went to University of California, Berkeley. In 2011, Renda won the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year award. Renda was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 42nd round in 2009 and then was drafted again after his junior season at Cal in the second round by the Nationals.
The Yankees have officially assigned him to the Double-A Trenton Thunder. In his four seasons in the Nationals minor league system across four different levels, Renda had a .288 average, a .366 on-base percentage, four homers, 153 RBIs, 83 doubles and 73 steals. In 2014, while playing for the Potomac Nationals at the advanced A level, he had a .307 average, 47 RBIs, 19 steals and 21 doubles in 107 games. So far this season, while playing for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, he had a .267 average, with one homer, 23 RBIs (third most on the team), 10 doubles, 13 steals and seven errors.
Renda has proven to be able to drive in runs at a solid rate for a second baseman while getting a lot of steals and hitting for a good average. He is currently on a six-game hitting streak with three multi-hit games in that span. In addition to second base, Renda also played eight games at shortstop last season and two this season, which proves that he adds some versatility.
After their off day on Thursday, the Yankees will now play a three-game series against the fourth place Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees are in first place with a 33-26 record and the Orioles are four games back with a 29-30 record. The Orioles are coming off of a three-game sweep in Baltimore against the Red Sox.
RHP Michael Pineda (7-2, 3.33)
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 3.02)
7:05 p.m., YES Network
LHP CC Sabathia (3-7, 5.25)
RHP Bud Norris (2-4, 8.63)
7:15 p.m., FOX
RHP Adam Warren (4-4, 3.64)
The Yankees designated reliever David Carpenter for assignment on Wednesday afternoon before their game against the Seattle Mariners. They had to remove someone from the 25-man roster because Masahiro Tanaka was coming off of the disabled list to start today’s game.
The Yankees received Carpenter and Chasen Shreve from the Atlanta Braves when they traded Manny Banuelos. Carpenter has really struggled this season as he had a 4.82 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched this season. He pitched very well in 2013 with the Braves finishing the season with a 1.78 ERA and 0.990 WHIP in 65.2 innings, but he has been progressively worse since then.
Carpenter had 11 strikeouts and seven walks this season, which is not a strikeout to walk ratio that leads to success. He gave up the go-ahead run in the sixth inning last night, which could have been what sealed the deal for him. It is possible that he is one of those players that was just not able to handle the pressure of playing for the Yankees.
The Yankees opted to keep Jacob Lindgren on the roster instead. He made his debut on May 25 and has a 4.15 ERA in four appearances. Besides his appearances on May 29 when he allowed two runs on three hits, he has pitched 3.1 innings while not allowing a hit and striking out four.
Lindy, as Girardi calls him, had a dominating 1.23 ERA this season at Triple-A Scranton, and the lefty has the ability to improve the bullpen. Lindgren is known for his fastball and his slider is his strikeout pitch.
Jacob Lindgren, the relief pitcher that the Yankees drafted with their second round draft pick in 2014 out of Mississippi State University, was called up to the Yankees from Triple-A Scranton before the game on Sunday. Branden Pinder, who had a 2.16 ERA in his 8.1 innings pitched, was sent back down to the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders. (Pinder had thrown 48 pitches in the blowout loss on Saturday.)
Lindgren was the rare draft pick who excelled so much in his first season that he was able to play in the rookie league, Single-A Charleston, Single-A (Advanced) Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Across those four levels in 2014, the lefty pitched in 24.2 innings, had a 2.19 ERA, a 1.014 WHIP, allowed 12 hits, and had 48 strikeouts and only 13 walks. He went from being the team’s top draft pick to the majors in only 353 days.
This season at Triple-A Scranton, Lindgren has pitched 22 innings (15 games) and had a 1.23 ERA (1.92 FIP), 1.182 WHIP, 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings, 29 strikeouts and only 10 walks. Lindgren’s numbers in his 48 games as a pro are unbelievable: 39.3 K% and 75.6 GB% in 46.2 innings across five different levels. He didn’t have anything else to prove in the minors.
His fastball is in the low-to-mid-90s, which is a plus pitch for a lefty. His fastball also has a lot of movement, which will help him when he faces big-league hitters. Lindgren’s strikeout pitch is a hard, diving slider, which could help him have success if he can continue to locate it.
It makes sense that the Yankees called him up when they did because the bullpen outside of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller has struggled recently. According to Ryan Hatch, since the 10 of 11 losses started on May 12, the Yankees’ bullpen owns the worst ERA in the major leagues (6.23 ERA).
Two relief pitchers that have struggled recently are Justin Wilson and David Carpenter. Wilson, who has a high 5.79 ERA this season, has allowed six earned runs in his last 4.1 innings (7 games). Carpenter, who also a has a high 5.19 ERA this season, has allowed three earned runs including a homer in his 3.2 innings (4 games). Lindgren will be able to pitch in some of the spots that Joe Girardi was putting Wilson or Carpenter into the game.
The Yankees, who lost 5-2 last night to the Texas Rangers on Sunday Night Baseball to move 1.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays after having a four-game lead in the division over the Rays on May 11, need more to turn around besides the bullpen but Lindgren’s addition should help. While losing 10 of their last 11 games the Yankees have averaged only 3.1 runs a game, the starters have a very high 6.42 ERA and the team has made 10 errors.
The MLB Network profiled Lindgren after he was drafted by the Yankees:
The Yankees had an off day on Thursday before continuing their road trip. Their final seven games of their road trip will be against the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers.
To begin the season they have lost two of their three games in each of their first three series, which means that they have lost their first three series of the season to AL East opponents.
“It’s frustrating,” Girardi said. “It’s not the way you want to start. We get an off day (on Thursday), and we need to turn it around. Obviously we need to start winning series, or it becomes a long year.”
During Wednesday’s game, Nathan Eovaldi pitched five innings while allowing two runs, eight hits, three walks and a homer to Manny Machado. It was an improvement on his first start since he had nine strikeouts against the Orioles on Wednesday and allowed two runs but allowed three earned runs and only had one strikeout against the Boston Red Sox.
Eovaldi will still want to limit the hits that he allows since eight are too many. However, it is a positive sign that he was able to collect nine strikeouts since that means he was living up to what he is capable of doing. He is the No. 4 starter in the rotation right now, but based on Eovaldi’s stuff and velocity he has the ability to be a No. 3 or No. 2 starter.
Carlos Beltran doubled to deep right center in the third inning to score Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley. Beltran could be coming out of his slump as he now has three RBIs and two extra-base hits in his last two games. However, he should move lower in the lineup if his average doesn’t improve soon as he is only hitting .171.
In the fourth inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a towering 433-foot homer to left to give a Yankees a 3-1 lead. His 656th homer of his career was the 13th-furtherst hit ball in the majors this season.
In the eighth inning, the Yankees added two more runs but they weren’t enough to tie the game. Brian McCann hit a sac fly to center to score Headley and move Mark Teixiera to third, and then Teixeira scored on Tommy Hunter’s wild pitch while Rodriguez was batting to make the score 7-5.
The Yankees lost this game because of their bullpen, which as of now is the strongest and deepest unit on the team. Besides this game it has been more reliable than the offense, starting pitching and defense. David Carpenter and Justin Wilson, who had pitched well previously this season, allowed a total of five earned runs in the sixth inning. Carpenter allowed three runs while only recording one out and Wilson surrendered two runs off of two outs while not getting an out.
Baltimore scored two other runs in the fourth and first innings respectively. The homer that Machado hit was his first of the season.
The Yankees can’t seem to have their offense, defense, starting pitching and bullpen all perform well during the same game. They would have won this game if Carpenter had performed like he had in the games prior to this one. This series that they have coming up against the Rays (6-4) is close to a must win one because they don’t want to have a 4-8 record going into the series against the surging Tigers (8-1).
Adam Warren will get his second start of the season during the 7:10 p.m. game and Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.97 ERA) will get his third start of the season for the Rays. Warren had an encouraging first start of the season as he allowed only one earned run and five hits (two overall) in his 5.1 innings pitched. This was his first start since the 2013 season when he made two. Warren will want to be more economical with his pitches since he threw 98 pitches in only 5.1 innings.
Justin Wilson, who is a relief pitcher that played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first three seasons of his career, was traded to the Yankees on November 12 for back-up catcher Francisco Cervelli. The 27-year-old has a 2.99 ERA, 1.229 WHIP, 127 strikeouts and 61 walks in his 138.1 innings pitched (136 games).
In 2012, he made his major league debut on August 20 and would make seven more appearances the rest of the season. He only pitched 4.2 innings in those eight games, but Wilson was able to record seven strikeouts and only one run.
This successful stint at the end of the season led to him having a prominent role in the bullpen in 2013. During his age 25 season, he had a 6-1 record, 15 holds, a dominating 2.08 ERA, 1.059 WHIP, 59 strikeouts, a career-low 3.4 walks/9 innings and held lefties to a .501 OPS in 73.2 innings pitched (58 games). His very low WHIP and ERA gave him one of the best seasons in baseball among set-up men.
He was not as successful last season as he finished with a 4.20 ERA after allowing 28 earned runs, but he was able to improve his strikeouts/9 innings from 7.2 to 9.2. He had three wins, three blown saves and 16 holds in 60 innings (70 games). His ERA was higher last season because he allowed 11 more runs in 13.2 fewer innings. Wilson is due for a bounce back season because many players go through a “sophomore slump” after playing well as a rookie.
Last season, Wilson relied on his four-seam fastball (96mph), sinker (96mph), cutter (91mph) and curve (80mph). The rising action on his four-seamer results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers. His sinker also results in more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sinkers.
Wilson is entering his fourth season, and third full season, which means that he still has room for improvement. His main weakness is that he has some control issues, as he has 4.0 walks per nine innings for his career. The strikeout pitcher will give the Yankees a second reliable lefty in the bullpen. Another positive is that he isn’t even arbitration eligible until 2016.
He will combine with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, David Carpenter, Esmil Rogers and Adam Warren to give the Yankees one of the best bullpens in baseball. Another positive to having Wilson is that he will combine with Betances, Miller and Carpenter to give the bullpen four flame-throwers. He will likely primarily pitch in the seventh inning along with Carpenter.
David Carpenter, who is a 29-year-old right-handed relief pitcher, was traded to the Yankees from the Atlanta Braves with Chasen Shreve for former top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos on January 1. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 12th round of the 2006 draft, and he has previously pitched in the majors for the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Braves.
Carpenter is currently on a one-year, $1.3 million contract. He had the best season of his career in 2013 when current Yankees catcher Brian McCann was still on the Braves. During the 2013 campaign, Carpenter was the team’s top set-up man and finished the season with four wins, 12 holds, a 1.78 ERA, 65.2 innings, an impressive 0.990 WHIP and a career-high 74 strikeouts. He was able to have an All-Star caliber season after not making his Braves debut until May 10.
He started the 2014 season as the team’s set-up man, but he ended the season nearly allowing double the runs that he did in 2013. He had a much higher 3.54 ERA and allowed more earned runs (24 and 13 in 2013) in 2014, but he did have more holds (19) than he did in in 2013. Also, his strikeouts/9 innings (9.9 in 2014 and 10.1 in 2013) and walks/9 innings (2.4 and 2.7) were virtually the same, which proves that he hasn’t lost much from 2013.
McCann gave the Yankees a “strong endorsement of his former Braves teammate, which could mean that their chemistry will lead to Carpenter allowing closer to the amount of earned runs he allowed in 2013 than the amount he allowed in 2014. Either way, Carpenter will be an upgrade over Shawn Kelley, who had a 4.53 ERA for the Yankees.
Carpenter is known for his blazing fast fourseam fastball, which means that he will give the bullpen another power pitcher to go with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson. The other pitch that he relies on to get outs is a slider (86mph). He also has a change (90mph), but he doesn’t rely on it as he only threw it 18 times last season. He will be another pitcher in the bullpen who the Yankees will be able to count on to get strikeouts.
He will mostly be pitching in the seventh inning since Betances and Miller will be the eight and ninth inning combo, but Carpenter has four career saves and is capable of closing if Miller and Betances are not available. It could take him some time to get used to pitching in the AL East and Yankee Stadium, but he will likely have a bounce back season and come close to the pitcher he was in 2013.
The Yankees will have an elite bullpen if Carpenter comes close to the pitcher he was in 2013 and Betances and Miller pitch like they did last season.
The Yankees have a deep and imposing bullpen with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, David Carpenter, Justin Wilson, Esmil Rogers, Adam Warren and eventually Chasen Shreve and Jacob Lindgren. However, since none of them have more than Carpenter’s four career saves it would make sense for the Yankees to employ a closer by committee approach, at least for the first two months of the season.
In 2014, David Robertson saved 39 games for the Yankees after taking over from the retired Mariano Rivera, but he made sense to be the full-time closer because he had been the top set up man for Rivera for the previous four seasons and even had experience closing. The Yankees rightfully decided to not bring him back on a four-year contract, which has helped give the bullpen more options. However, it does not have a pitcher who has been a top set up man for more than three seasons, which means that the closer position should be earned by Betances or Miller.
Betances would be a logical and sentimental choice because he was an All-Star last season with the Yankees and grew up in the Lower East Side, but last season was his first full season as a relief pitcher. He could not have been better as he used his four-seam fastball that averaged 96 MPH, a devastating slurve (which is a mixture between a curve ball and slider and often freezes hitters) and a changeup to record an outstanding 135 strikeouts and a 1.40 ERA in 90 innings (70 games). He broke Mariano Rivera’s record for strikeouts in a season by a Yankee.
However, even though Betances proved that he has the stuff to be an effective closer as Robertson’s set up man last season, he still likely needs more time to prove himself. This is because before last season the only bullpen work he had was 32 innings for Triple-A Scranton during the 2013 season after being converted from being a starter. He was once a top starter prospect in the organization, as he was the fifth best prospect in 2009 and had an ERA of 2.11 in 17 minor league starts in 2010, but it was downhill from there for him as a starter.
Miller is similar to Betances in that they were both starters earlier in their career before being moved to the bullpen because of ineffectiveness. Miller was in the rotation for the Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins and Boston Red Sox before being sent to the bullpen because he never had an ERA below 4.84, but Miller has been in the bullpen for the Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles for the last three seasons.
Miller had an impressive 2.64 ERA while only pitching in 30.2 innings in 2013. He season was cut short in 2013 because of torn ligaments in the lisfranc zone of his foot. His 48 strikeouts led to an outstanding 14.1 strikeouts/nine innings, and he limited the opposition to three homers. One drawback of his productive 2013 season is that he walked 17 batters in those 30.2 innings, which led to a high 5.0 walks/9 innings.
Another similarity between Betances and Miller is that – even though Miller pitched well in 2013 and was one of the top relievers when healthy – they have both truly had one elite season. In 2014, while pitching in 50 games for the Red Sox and 23 games for the Orioles, Miller had a 2.02 ERA in 62.1 innings, a dominating 103 strikeouts, only 17 walks and a phenomenal .802 WHIP. His 2.5 walks/9 innings and 14.9 strikeouts/9 innings were also by far the best of his career. In 2014, Miller threw a fourseam fastball (95 MPH), a slider (85 MPH) and very rarely a changeup (91 MPH). His slider generates a higher amount of swings and misses compared to that of other pitchers.
Since they are both capable of closing based on their stuff and overall effectiveness last season, but can both pitch multiple innings, it would make sense if Joe Girardi went based on match-ups the first two months of the season since Miller is a lefty and Betances is a righty. Whoever proves to get better results in the ninth inning while limiting the walks could get the closer position for the long haul. The Yankees are shaping up to have a bullpen to be reckoned with a top four of Betances, Miller, David Carpenter and Justin Wilson.
They are both coming into their own, which is a definite positive, but have both only shown the ability to perform for a full season at an elite level once. This means that neither of them has earned the closer spot going into the season and since they can both pitch more than one inning it would make sense to utilize them in that way. They could handle the eighth and ninth innings, and Justin Wilson, David Carpenter, Esmil Rogers, Adam Warren, Chasen Shreve etc. can look to execute and be counted on in long relief and in the sixth and seventh innings.
Miller was given a four-year, $36 million contract earlier in the offseason, which means that he should get an opportunity to close just like Betances. Based on how Betances and Miller pitched last season, and if Carpenter pitches like he did in 2013, the Yankees bullpen could be just as potent as last year’s Royals bullpen that helped them essentially end games after six innings. In 1996, the Yankees had one of the best closer & set-up man combos in John Wetteland (2.83 ERA/43 saves) and Mariano Rivera (2.09 ERA/130 strikeouts/107.2 innings). However, in 1997, the Yankees had one obvious candidate to close but they now have two.
Teams definitely benefit from having defined roles, but Betances and Miller are both unselfish players, so Girardi should have them share the role to see who is better suited for the pressure of the ninth inning.