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.
The Yankees kicked off the New Year by trading a former top pitching prospect for two pitchers who can have an impact on their bullpen this season. At about 5 p.m. on Thursday, the Yankees traded Manny Banuelos, who was a top prospect before his Tommy John Surgery, to the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees received David Carpenter, who was the top set-up man for the Braves the past two seasons, and the emerging reliever Chasen Shreve.
Trading Banuelos now makes sense but it would not have made sense a few years ago. Before he missed the 2013 season due to Tommy John Surgery and had an inconsistent 2011 and 2012, he was one of three up-and-coming starters in the organization who along with Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman were known as the Killer B’s. They were expected to all be productive starters in the Yankees rotation. Banuelos, is no longer a top pitching prospect as he was surpassed by Ian Clarkin, Luis Severino and Brady Lail, Brackman has retired after many injuries and Betances was an All-Star in his first full season as a relief pitcher last season.
It is possible that Banuelos will still be an effective No. 3/4 starter, but it makes sense that GM Brian Cashman was able to trade him for Carpenter and Shreve who can help the bullpen be a strength of the team in 2015. The Yankees don’t really know what they will get from CC Sabathia, Nate Eovaldi or Chris Capuano, which makes having a deep and effective bullpen even more important.
Brian McCann, who caught Carpenter during his last season with the Braves in 2013, gave Carpenter a strong endorsement. In 2013, with McCann on the Braves, Carpenter had his best season as a pro as he pitched in 56 games, had a 1.78 ERA, 0.990 WHIP, 74 strikeouts (10.1 Ks/9 innings) and 20 walks (2.7 walks/9 innings). In 2014, his 3.54 ERA and 1.262 WHIP were a good bit worse than 2013, but his Ks/9 innings (9.9) and walks/9 innings (2.4) were the same or better than 2013. Carpenter’s fastball tops out at an impressive 99 MPH, usually throws between 95-96 and has a strong cutter & slider.
The Yankees traded Shawn Kelley about a week ago for an emerging minor leaguer from the Padres, and Carpenter’s stats should be much better than Kelley’s over the last two years. Carpenter, a 29-year-old Morgantown, West Virginia native who went to West Virginia University, will be playing in his fifth season and has previously pitched for the Houston Astros, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Braves.
Shreve, the other player the Yankees acquired, played at Double-A, Triple-A and with the Braves last season. The 24-year-old from Las Vegas who went to the College of Southern Nevada pitched in 15 games fro the Braves after his fast ascent up the Braves system and had a stellar 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings. His 15 strikeouts led to an impressive Ks/9 innings of 10.9. Shreve, who was drafted in 2010, had a 2.67 ERA and 87 strikeouts during the 2014 season while pitching in 36 games for Double-A Mississippi and 10 games for Triple-A Gwinett.
Shreve pitched at Double-A for the first time in 2012 where he threw 18.1 innings in 11 games. earning a 2-1 record with an average 3.93 ERA. After dominating the opposition with a 2.75 ERA to start the season with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, Shreve struggled (4.43 in 42.2 innings) after pitching with Double-A once again. He was throwing his fastball between 86 and 90 MPH during the 2013 season and didn’t look like he would soon be promoted to the show.
After struggling at the beginning of the season with Double-A in 2014, he went to his pitching coach and said that: “I can throw hard if you want me to. I choose not to, I choose to spot up,” according to Chop Country. After the meeting with his pitching coach, his average fastball improved from 91 MPH to 94 MPH and led to much better results at Double-A and his promotion to Triple-A and the Braves. He will likely begin the 2015 season with Triple-A Scranton and a call up to the Yankees by July is a definite possibility.
It is possible that the Yankees gave up too early on Banuelos, but his 4.59 ERA in 16 starts at Double-A Trenton last season proves that it was worth upgrading the bullpen so another team could gamble on him. The Yankees bullpen is now likely complete for the start of 2015, and Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam Warren, Carpenter, Shreve, Justin Wilson, Esmil Rogers will all be able to make an impact and serve different roles. Jacob Lindgren, who advanced to Triple-A last season after being drafted in May, should also be called up at some point.
The additions of Carpenter and Shreve give the Yankees a bullpen that could be as effective as the one the Royals had last season where the game was effectively over in the sixth inning when the Royals had the lead. It is not known who will be the closer, but Betances and Miller could share the closer spot, and Carpenter is also capable of pitching in the ninth if they both need a day off.
On Tuesday, the Yankees re-signed left-hander Chris Capuano to a one-year, $5 million contract. He is a 36-year-old journeyman who has previously pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox.
Capuano was an All-Star in 2006 with the Brewers when he finished the season with 11 wins, a 4.03 ERA, 174 strikeouts and only 47 walks, but he has mostly been a mediocre pitcher throughout his career. He has been a somewhat reliable back-end of the rotation starter, and has served as a reliever in the 2013, 2013 and 2014 seasons. Capuano has a 76-87 record, a 4.28 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP, 1.134 strikeouts, 426 walks and has allowed 183 homers in 10 seasons.
While pitching for the Mets in 2011, Capuano had a very high 4.55 ERA while making 33 appearances and 31 starts. In 2013, which was the last season that he made most of his appearances as a starter, he had a 4.26 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 24 walks for the Dodgers. Further adding to his mediocrity, this past season, he had a 4.55 ERA in 28 relief appearances for the Red Sox, and after he was designated for assignment, he had a 4.25 ERA in 12 starts (65.2 innings) with the Yankees.
In a surprising decision, General Manager Brian Cashman all but declared that Capuano would have a spot in the rotation to begin the season. “He’s coming in as one of our starters,” Cashman said. This means that as of now their rotation will be Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Capuano. Ivan Nova should be back from Tommy John surgery by June and until then the internal options for the final spot include Adam Warren, David Phelps, Bryan Mitchell, Chase Whitley and Jose De Paula. If in the rotation, Capuano makes the most sense as the number 5 starter.
Cashman is still saying that they don’t have plans to enter the bidding for Max Scherzer because of the money and years attached to him. However, this could still change come the end of January as that was when they signed Tanaka last year.
Many of the number 3 starters or better have already been traded for or signed by teams, so it is looking like Cashman will either come out of left field with an offer for Scherzer that he can’t refuse, or be content to go into spring training with the starters currently on the roster. It will not be a successful offseason if Cashman doesn’t add another starter.
Capuano is a pitcher who can be relied upon to be a workhorse that offers depth and versatility. His main attribute is that he eats up innings as he has thrown more than 186 innings four times in his career. He pitched six innings or more in eight of his 12 starts with the Yankees. However, proving his inconsistency is that he allowed four earned runs during two out of his three starts where he had more than five strikeouts.
They are not making much of an investment in him as it is only a one-year contract, but it did come as a surprise that Cashman already said that he is one of the starters in the rotation. However, this could change in spring training if a pitcher like Manny Banuelos or Mitchell really emerges.
Capuano, who was drafted in the 8th round of the 1999 draft, is a finesse pitcher who relies on his unorthodox delivery. He throws his fastball in the mid to upper 80s. The crafty lefty features a changeup and a slider, and his excellent pickoff move helped him lead the major leagues in that category with 12 in 2005.
The Yankees were able to score five runs off of Josh Beckett, four of them earned, which should have been enough to win but Phil Hughes would allow a total of six runs during the Yankees 9-5 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Hughes pitched well through the first four innings only allowing two runs, but that was not good enough as he turned in his third underwhelming start since coming off the disabled list. He has had five starts where he allowed two runs or less but he still needs to find that consistency that he had the first-half of last season. Having three starts where he has allowed more than five runs is not going to cut it.
Even though Hughes has been somewhat feast or famine since coming off the disabled list, he should still be the one to stay in the rotation over A.J. Burnett. I hope for the best, but I don’t think it is very likely that Burnett allows four runs or less against the Red Sox tonight. The one major factor in Burnett’s favor is his mammoth contract but Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi need to realize that it is more important that the Yankees are able to count on their starting pitcher.
Burnett has allowed 16 runs in his last two starts and part of the reason that he was signed before the 2009 season was because he had dominated the Red Sox while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays. In eight starts with the Blue Jays he had five wins and 2.56 ERA, but in eight starts for the Yankees against Boston he has zero wins and an 8.71 ERA. Even if he somehow allows three runs his should be his last start of the season.
Hughes gives the Yankees a realistic chance of hurling in a dominating start but the same can’t really said for Burnett at this point. It might make sense to call up Dellin Beances, Manny Banuelos or Adam Warren to see how they do during a spot start, if Hughes does not pitch a quality start when he toes the rubber next.
Putting one of these three top pitchers from AAA Scranton in the middle of a playoff race might be a little risky but it is worth a shot since they have so much potential. If Hughes does indeed falter again, the Yankees would have no better option besides taking rookie Hector Noesi out of his long-relief role and giving him a start.
Based on how he has performed this season in the Bronx and for Scranton it is likely that Noesi would pitch well if given a chance to start, but he has been a valuable asset in his current bullpen role. However, if Hughes is kept in the rotation like he should be, and he does not allow three runs or less in his next start something has to be done.
Derek Jeter was the offensive “star” for the Yankees as he was the only player with more than one hit, driving in Eduardo Nunez for the first run of the game in the top of the third, and also adding another single later in the game.
During the fifth inning in Tuesday’s game Francisco Cervelli hit a solo home run, but when he led off the fifth inning during Wednesday’s game he was only able to hit a fly ball to Crawford.
Hughes gave up Ortiz’s 28th homer with two outs in the fifth inning to deep center field to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead. Ortiz has been on fire recently bringing a 10 game hitting streak into Thursday’s game, with six multiple hit games and 11 RBI during that time period.
After striking out in his first two at bats against Beckett, Robinson Cano would hit a double to the Green Monster between the centerfielder and leftfielder, to score Mark Teixiera. Chavez continued his scorching hitting as he wound up on third after a double (and an error), where Cano and Nick Swisher scored, after hitting a ball into the left corner, which would carom around preventing rookie Josh Reddick from fielding it cleanly.
At the end of the top of the sixth the Yankees edged the Red Sox 5-4 but it was all downhill from there. Hughes would allow two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, off a double by long time Boston catcher Jason Varitek and Varitek’s run would be charged to him as reliever Boone Logan gave up a homer to left by MVP candidate Jacoby Ellsbury.
Luis Ayala, who had previously proved to have been a solid under the radar pickup by Cashman, gave up a two-run homer to Varitek in the eighth, but those runs would prove to be meaningless towards the outcome of the game.
The offense could not manage even a hit or a walk off of Beckett in the seventh, Daniel Bard in the eighth or closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. Mark Teixiera did not show up in this game as he was 0-3 while leaving runners in scoring position with two outs twice.
In the top of the eighth, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher hit balls hard that appeared to be singles, but Marco Scutarto and Dustin Pedroia, respectively, fielded the short hops cleanly to get them out.
Gardner is now 6-54 as he could not reach base to keep the game alive with two outs in the ninth inning. Jonathan Papelbon simply overpowered and outmatched him on three pitches.
Derek Jeter, who has been on a tear since the beginning of August, passed Craig Biggio with his 3,061st career hit.
According to Kim Jones, Jesus Montero will likely start at Designated Hitter in Thursday’s series finale since they are facing Jon Lester and Montero excels against southpaws. It will help if he could be the everyday DH against lefties because they have not been getting consistent production out of that spot, but it is more important that they get reliable production from their starters for the rest of the season, especially the four and five spots.
Jon Lester will be pitching for the Red Sox tonight. He has a 14-6 record with a 3.09 ERA, having allowed one run in each of his past three starts. However, in three starts against the Yankees this season, the Bronx Bombers has solved him as they scored 10 runs in 18 innings (5.00 ERA).
His story is impressive because he was diagnosed with Lymphoma on August 31st, 2006, but he was able to recover fully as evidenced by winning the final game of the 2007 World Series.