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Archive for April 14th, 2011

Pedro Feliciano didn’t make this much news when he was almost literally pitching every day for the Mets, but in his short tenure with the Yankees, the once durable lefty has become a hot topic because of his inability to take the ball.

Scott Proctor led the American League with 83 appearances in 2006. Since then, his career has been plagued by various arm injuries.

When the Yankees signed Feliciano back in January, the reliever market had exploded and quality left handers were a scarce commodity. So, although the two-year, $8 million deal given to the reliever was a bit of an overpay, it still appeared to be a worthy signing. After Feliciano’s most recent MRI, which revealed a tear in his shoulder capsule, that no longer seems to be the case.

It’s easy to slam Brian Cashman for sinking so much money into a 34-year old pitcher coming off three straight seasons in which he led the league in games pitched, especially after the Yankees’ GM stated that Feliciano was abused during his time as a Met. Such a statement naturally led many to wonder why Cashman would pursue the signing if he felt Feliciano might be damaged goods, but the issue is much more complicated. After all, Feliciano’s workload could just as easily have been interpreted as a sign of extraordinary durability instead of evidence that his shoulder was a ticking time bomb. Based on the other options available, Cashman took a calculated risk. Unfortunately for him, it exploded in his face.

The Yankees aren’t strangers to signing free agent relievers with a history of heavy workloads. In 2003, the team inked Paul Quantrill to a two-year deal following three seasons in which he too led the league in appearances. In his first season with the Yankees, Quantrill led the league for a record fourth straight time, but after bouncing around with three teams in 2005, his career was over. Steve Kline was the only other reliever to lead the league in appearances for three straight seasons with a minimum of 80 games in each year, but he showed no ill effects from the workload. Following his trifecta, Kline pitched in at least 66 games over the next six seasons.

Seasons with Over 80 Appearances

Pitcher Yrs From To Age
Paul Quantrill* 5 1998 2004 29-35
Kent Tekulve 4 1978 1987 31-40
Pedro Feliciano* 3 2008 2010 31-33
Peter Moylan 3 2007 2010 28-31
Ray King 3 2001 2004 27-30
Steve Kline* 3 1999 2001 26-28
Mike Stanton 3 1996 2006 29-39
Mike Marshall 3 1973 1979 30-36


*Led the league with at least 80 appearances in three straight seasons.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

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vs. Jake Arieta PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Brett Gardner LF 3 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Derek Jeter SS 6 0.400 0.500 0.600 0 1
Mark Teixeira 1B 6 0.333 0.333 0.500 0 0
Alex Rodriguez 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 6 0.400 0.500 0.600 0 1
Nick Swisher RF 6 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 1
Jorge Posada DH 6 0.200 0.333 0.400 0 1
Curtis Granderson CF 6 0.200 0.333 0.600 0 1
Russell Martin C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 39 0.265 0.333 0.441 0 5
             
vs. Phil Hughes PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Brian Roberts 2B 14 0.154 0.143 0.231 0 1
Nick Markakis RF 24 0.304 0.333 0.391 0 3
Derrek Lee 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Vladimir Guerrero DH 13 0.231 0.231 0.308 0 4
Luke Scott LF 15 0.538 0.600 0.692 0 1
Adam Jones CF 17 0.235 0.235 0.529 1 3
Mark Reynolds 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Matt Wieters C 11 0.200 0.273 0.200 0 1
Cesar Izturis SS 8 0.167 0.375 0.167 0 1
Total 102 0.274 0.320 0.389 1 14

 

Yankees vs. Orioles    
Season: 2011 Season: 2010 Season: 2009 All-Time
NYY: 1-0 NYY: 13-5 NYY: 13-5 NYY: 1236-843
       
  Last 10 Home vs. RHP
Yankees 6-4 5-2 5-3
  Last 10 Away vs. RHP
Orioles 6-4 31 5-2

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The U.S.government was finally able to pin a felony on Barry Bonds (assuming the verdict isn’t set aside by the judge), and it only took six years and about $10 million to do it. Considering that the original indictment included 11 counts, the lone guilty verdict doesn’t seem like much of a victory for the prosecutors. Even in baseball’s generous salary structure, eight figures is a lot to pay for a batting average below .100.

Barry Bonds leaves court after being found guilty on one count of obstruction of justice (Photo: AP).

Perhaps the ultimate irony in the Bonds’ trial was that the slugger’s only conviction came on an obstruction of justice charge that wasn’t directly related to his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. Essentially, Bonds was found guilty of making bizarre statements to the grand jury. Although some of the comments do seem evasive, one wonders if the jury ever witnessed one of the homerun king’s past press conferences? If so, they might have viewed Bonds’ rambling, defensive responses in a different light.

Regardless of how you feel about Bonds, or the government’s conduct in its dogged pursuit of him, it’s hard to draw any meaningful conclusion from the outcome of the trial. In fact, much like most of the attempts to delve into the root causes of steroid era, nothing was really accomplished. Like the many sanctimonious media exposes, the commissioner’s Mitchell Report, and Congress’ investigative committee hearings, the Bonds’ trial was a charade…a way to shift blame and justify a false sense of moral superiority.

Not surprisingly, many in the media have used the conviction as either a vehicle of vindication or a means to overstate the ramifications of the steroid era. Howard Bryant’s ESPN column is a perfect example. Incredibly, he tries to argue that the use of steroids was as shameful a stain on the game as the era of segregation. According to Bryant, segregation was a “societal issue”, which somehow mollifies the blight. This is exactly the twisted logic that has elevated the personal use of chemical substances to the heights of immorality.

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