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July 1, 2005

Churn, churn, churn
by SG

With the designating for assignment of Mike Stanton and Paul Quantrill, I realized that the Yankees' 25 man roster has been extremely volatile this year. With the yo-yoing of people like Bubba Crosby, Kevin Reese, and Andy Phillips, I thought I'd look at the current roster and what we may expect through the rest of the year.

Jason Anderson
Wayne Franklin
Tom Gordon
Buddy Groom
Randy Johnson
Mike Mussina
Carl Pavano
Scott Proctor
Mariano Rivera
Tanyon Sturtze
Chien-Ming Wang

John Flaherty
Jorge Posada

Robinson Cano
Jason Giambi
Derek Jeter
Russ Johnson
Tino Martinez
Alex Rodriguez

Bubba Crosby
Hideki Matsui
Gary Sheffield
Bernie Williams
Tony Womack
Ruben Sierra

New to the team are Jason Anderson and Wayne Franklin. Anderson was a one-time Yankee prospect who was traded to the Mets in the Armando Benitez trade in 2003. He then bounced to Cleveland before finding his way back to the Bronx. A fairly hard thrower, he's been pretty successful in Columbus this year, with a 2.85 ERA in 47.1 innings, allowing 30 hits, 4 HR, 11 BB and getting 42 Ks. Wayne Franklin is a fairly pedestrian lefty reliever whos had a fairly abysmal major league career so far, although a third of his games were starts. In Columbus this year he's pitched 32.2 innings in 38 games, allowing 29 hits, 3 HR, 11 BB, and getting 39 Ks, with an ERA of 4.13. He's obviously being used as a LOOGY in the minors, and his numbers are still unimpressive, which should be a big flashing warning sign. His scouting report describes him thusly:

Franklin doesn't have exceptional velocity, command or movement, but has just enough of each to get by. His outings always seem to be a high-wire act, however, as his high-80s cutter and short slider are hittable. He tends to leave them up in the zone, inducing a lot of flyballs, many of which can't be tracked down. He throws a changeup, but he simply doesn't fool hitters often enough and they are able to make solid contact against him, even with two strikes-lefthanded and righthanded swingers alike. Franklin converted from relief only two years ago, and he tends lose effectiveness after his first trip through the order.

Doesn't sound like much to get excited about, but I guess Torre wanted a lefty to replace Stanton.

I figure Anderson will get one game to show himself. If he does well, he may get to stick around for another, if he doesn't he will likely get buried and then optioned. Odds are that only one of Anderson or Scott Proctor will be much of a factor for the Yankees through the remainder of the season. Poor Colter Bean will continue to languish in Columbus despite the fact that he gets outs, because Proctor and Anderson both throw harder.

Franklin will likely get a few chances to mess up, as the dearth of lefties in the system and rotation will make him more "valuable."

Despite carrying 6 pitchers in the bullpen, the Yankees still have a glaring weakness. With the emergence of Tanyon Sturtze 2.0™ as a late inning guy, there are no long relievers on this team. How this happens, I don't know, but there it is. Torre's tendency to overwork his favorites has been mitigated to an extent this year by the Yankees' middling play, but you can see it creeping in again when the Yankees go on one of their patented pre-losing streak winning streaks.

Brian Cashman was interviewed today and said that the reason they made the bullpen moves was to start patching something that wasn't working from within the organization first. I appreciate this in theory, and I do think Proctor and Anderson may have some talent to contribute, but I fear that Torre will not be the guy to bring it out of them. Aside from a reliever so good and talented that Stump Merrill couldn't mess him up, has Torre ever broken in a young reliever?

Bubba Crosby will get to sit on the bench for a while until Felix Escalona heals up and can replace him, because Torre wants another backup infielder. I don't agree with this, since Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter miss so few games, and Robinson Cano is a rookie who deserves to play every day because of his defense and his development. It also doesn't make sense on a team that has no one who is capable of playing average defense in the outfield, to only carry 2 legitimate outfielders. Bernie is not an OF as long as he is being trotted out to center, Womack is not an outfielders, and Sierra is not an outfielder. They can put on gloves and stand out there, but they're not outfielders.

Odds are that there are more moves coming. With stories about Beane asking for the Yankees' top 3 prospects for Mark Kotsay coming out, that's looking less and less likely. The Yankees have supposedly shown little interest in Preston Wilson, which I applaud them for. My guess is that Juan Encarnacion will be arriving shortly, with perhaps more to follow.