Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Yankees Sign Brian Roberts, Matt Thornton

Earlier today, the Yankees came to terms with second baseman Brian Roberts and left-handed relief pitcher, Matt Thornton. The agreement with Brian Roberts is for one year with a salary of $2.5 million plus incentives the oft-injured second baseman can obtain based on plate appearances. Brian Roberts has not played in more than 77 games in any of his last four seasons in Baltimore, and the Yankees will be lucky to get more than that out of him in 2014 with Kelly Johnson there in case of emergency. When healthy, Roberts can hit 50 doubles and be as pesky of a hitter as anyone in the league; the problem is that he can't stay on the field to play to his potential. In the early part of his career, Roberts was as dynamic of a player as anyone and was above the Jacoby Ellsbury caliber in terms of pure talent. However, that has gone downhill since injuries of all sorts started to plague his career. If the Yankees get a decent year out of Roberts, he has the potential to make them forget about Cano quickly with a couple of clutch doubles and a key stolen base. He hustles and plays like his career is ending tomorrow, which is probably what contributes to his long list of injuries.
The signing of lefty reliever Matt Thornton was a sneaky-good signing for the Yankees. Thornton, 37, has proven to be dominant against lefties, although his strikeouts have been on the decline recently. He will be on the Yankees for two years and will make $7.5 million, which is still less than half of what Boone Logan signed for to pitch in Colorado for three years. I don't understand how a left-handed specialist gets over $16 million for three years, but the Rockies are trying to shore up the pitching out of their bullpen, as it was suspect throughout the 2013 season. Their starters pitch well but there is no core of relievers to shut down the game for the Rockies, especially playing in the high altitude where the ball flies. I'm not sure Logan will do well in Colorado- he surrenders too many home runs and is a fly ball pitcher when he isn't striking batters out.

Today was a good day for the Yankees, as they are one step closer to having their bullpen complete. Another arm or two and the Yankees will be back where they were in 2013 and before. If there's something Girardi does well, it's good bullpen management.

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