Brian Fuentes Must be Tradeable
August 19, 2011
The New York Yankees want left-handed pitching. If this isn’t apparent to you by now you have missed something all summer. Here is a rundown:
- On March 23rd the Yankees claimed LHP Jose Ortegano off waivers from the Braves
- On April 28th the Yankees signed free agent LHP Brad Halsey
- On May 17th the Yankees signed free agent LHP Randy Flores
- On June 12th the Yankees signed free agent LHP Greg Smith
- On July 14th the Yankees signed free agent LHP J.C. Romero
- On August 16th the Yankees claimed LHP Raul Valdes off waivers from the Cardinals
After trying on several left-handed relievers on for size this year, New York today was at it again claiming southpaw Aaron Laffey off of waivers from the Seattle Mariners. Aaron Laffey has been bad. He has been worth -0.6 WAR to the M’s this year in his 42 2/3 innings of work, he has racked up 5.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and despite pitching half his games in Safeco Field 1.5 HR/9 (aided by an out of whack 15.6% HR/FB). While his ERA looks merely marginal at 4.01, his FIP tells a truer story of his woes at a startling 5.21. Yet, this is what New York is looking for – a team with hopes of winning a World Championship, a team for whom money is not really much of an object.
Well here I am looking at the full statistics but New York needs a lefty-specialist and can take former starters like Laffey and make them into lefty-specialists because who doesn’t want to play in New York for that aforementioned championship right? Well Laffey, hasn’t pitched lefties too well himself, managing 4.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 1.5 HR/9 against them. Why that looks eerily like his line doesn’t it? It does because against right-handed batters he swings 5.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and 1.5 HR/9. One could argue that he is better against right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters. If anything he is a lefty with a lack of a split, which would be wonderful if his split against both weren’t atrocious. In the end it is slightly worse versus lefties anyhow as his FIP against LHBs is 5.35 and against RHBs its a “mere” 5.10.
Surely, Brian Fuentes and his somewhat higher salary (he is owed the balance of $5M for 2011, along with another $5M for 2012 though if he is traded that adds on $200K to his salary, and he has an option for 2013 which one would need to pay at least $500K to buy out) would be a better fit. For all the lack of confidence A’s fans have in their newly appointed “co-seventh inning man”, he really hasn’t pitched left-handed hitters poorly which is what the Yankees I suppose are seeking in all their dabbling in left-handed relievers this year. Fuentes has 8.4 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9 against lefties – those are very good numbers and for a team that is contending to have that come out of your pen to neutralize a Josh Hamilton or Adrian Gonzalez is very impressive indeed. If Billy Beane wants to rid of a big (for us) contract, and possibly get a guy or two who could be useful in return, maybe even a somewhat throw away piece like a Chris Dickerson or Greg Golson for an A’s team that will be down several outfielders potentially this offseason, it would be a coup and the perfect kind of trade, one where everyone comes out ahead.
The Yankees clearly have a left-reliever on their wishlist and we have what they are looking for, when has this ever been a problem before? Getting the Yankees something they need should be a simple done deal. Thank you Brian for ridding us of Bob Geren, but we don’t need a lefty-specialist in the race for third place in the AL West. It’s been swell.