I was glad to be at a barbecue today, blissfully unaware of what was transpiring down in South Florida.
First and foremost, let's hope the injury to CC Sabathia is nothing serious. Bicep tightness could be due to just about anything. It wouldn't be surprising if the big man missed a start and Phil Hughes got a spot start.
While I don't know what will happen with CC, I've known all year that the bullpen must be overhauled. Designating Jose Veras for assignment was a start and now it's time for Brett Tomko to join him.
Let me say right off the bat, I have NEVER liked Tomko as a major league pitcher. He did a decent job when he first came up this year, but there's a reason Tomko doesn't stick with teams. Quite simply, he stinks. And he showed it quite succinctly today in the Yankees 6-3 loss that started out as a 3-1 lead.
I've continually beat on Brian Cashman for his inability to put together a quality bullpen and this year is different. Some people have pointed out to me that last year's pen was good until Kyle Farnsworth was traded. They had a good stretch, no more than that people.
Make no mistake, putting together a pen is one of the most difficult things to do in all of baseball. Other than a starting rotation, it will make or break a team more than any other ingredient. Especially in today's game, where front office people are ready to cream themselves if a starting pitcher goes a whole 6 innings. All it does is put more of a burden on the bullpen.
But more disturbing than the lack of a good pen, is sticking with a bad pen. It's time for Cashman to get off the dime and get some reinforcements in the Bronx.
Mark Melancon and Anthony Claggett should get another shot with the big club. David Robertson should be used in key situations rather than just as a mop up man.
And if need be, go out and get an arm. While everyone needs bullpen help, the Yankees certainly have enough young pitching prospects to barter a deal.
Possible relievers for the Pinstripes:
Jose Valverde, HOU: It's too early right now, but the Astros could move their closer once they fall farther out of the wild card race.
Huston Street, COL: I've never been a big fan of Street's, but I would be willing to give him a shot in a set up role.
Kerry Wood, CLE: He's having a rough year, no doubt, but he's a big time quality arm. Perhaps a change of scenery, and role, could change things. You would think the Indians would like to dump the rest of his contract.
Scott Linebrink, CHI (AL): On another team that won't be moving someone like Linebrink that early, but though he's overpaid, he's one of the most consistent set up men in the game.
Danys Baez, BAL: You've heard the name a lot this season. He's been one of the better arms out of a mediocre Orioles bullpen. But I think he's no better than what we've got.
Mike Gonzalez/Rafael Soriano, ATL: Too early for Atlanta to make moves, but this dynamite lefty/righty duo are both free agents after this season. Both have a history of arm problems, but would be worth a rental. Don't overlook one stat though, left-handed batters are hitting .295 against the southpaw Gonzalez, while righties are under .200. It's a consistent stat throughout Gonzalez' career.
Lesser Names: Matt Herges (CLE), Jon Rauch (AZ), David Weather (CIN), Kiki Calero (FLA, on DL),