Currently, the Yankee bullpen boasts a 4.15 FIP and a 4.35 xFIP. When compared across the two leagues, both numbers are fairly average, however, it should be noted that each figure is somewhat illusory. In reality, Joba Chamberlain – 2.25 FIP and 3.15 xFIP – and Mariano Rivera – 2.79 FIP and 3.46 FIP – have helped to bring the Yankees’ collective FIP and xFIP down, as no other reliever on the staff can claim an FIP lower than 4.28 or an xFIP lower than 4.03 (most of them have FIPs closer to 5, with xFIPs well over). The numbers have been evident on the field, too, as the bullpen has repeatedly faltered.
One of the Yankees bigger ‘pen problems has been their left-handed relief. Damaso Marte owns an ERA of 3.65, yet his BABIP is .214 (.289 career). Plus, his FIP and xFIP are 5.16 and 6.43. Meanwhile, Boone “Freakin” Logan (he has earned that name) currently sports a 4.20 ERA, yet he owns a 4.66 FIP and a 5.07 xFIP. Basically, though the numbers these two have put up against lefties have not been particularly poor, there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as both are performing over their heads. Neither left-hander really inspires much confidence and the numbers suggest that this is understandable.
So, what should the Yankees do to better this aspect of their bullpen? After all, it is an area that manager Joe Girardi seems to care about a great deal. Should they seek a trade? Matt Thornton of the White Sox could very well be available (he is probably one of, if not the best, left-handed relievers in the American League). Or perhaps the club should consider its internal options at the minor league level? Royce Ring is currently doing very well in Scranton – 1.50 ERA over 24 innings – though his FIP against left-handers is 4.76. There is also a guy named Kei Igawa down there who, despite a 5.45 ERA over 33 innings pitched, has posted an impressive 1.98 FIP against left-handers this season (albeit across only 11 innings).
Neither of these ideas – trades or internal options outside of Marte and Logan – seem to be guaranteed improvements over what the Yankees currently have, however. Therefore, might it be best to try and “fix” Marte and Logan – mechanically, mentally, whatever – in the hopes that they can beat the numbers and perform better than the stats suggest going forward? To be honest, I don’t know what the correct route is.
What do you think should be done?
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