Bored with the Yankees dominance, Brian Cashman and Joe Torre are trying to make a playoff run with one hand tied behind their backs. How else can you explain the absence of relievers Chris Britton and/or Edwar Ramirez from the Yankees roster? Britton and Ramirez are pretty clearly the second and third best relief pitchers in the organization, behind Mariano Rivera, and yet both are currently wasting their time in Scranton.
Chris Britton, acquired for Jaret Wright this offseason, proved himself to be a quality Major League relief pitcher last year in Baltimore. At 23 years of age, Britton posted a 3.35 ERA, with 41 strikeouts and 17 walks, with the Orioles. I'm not saying he was lights out dominant. However barring injury or Steve Blass disease, he deserved to make the Major League team this year. This year in AAA, Britton has a 2.41 ERA, with 40 Ks and 11 walks in 33 and 2/3 innings pitched. Again, while these numbers do not scream dominance, they certainly indicate that the guy deserves to be in the Major Leagues.
Yet despite the Yankees bullpen struggling for most of the season, Cashman and Torre have only found 3 varsity games to pitch him in. In those 3 games, he has pitched 5 innings, allowing only one run, and two baserunners. Obviously the sample size is ridiculously small. I only mention it to show that Britton's performance for the Yankees this year should have bolstered his case to be on the 25 man roster. Unfortunately, the Yankees demoted him to Scranton when Roger Clemens was called up.
While Britton's case to make the Yankees is an absolute slam dunk, Edwar Ramirez's might be even more compelling. Granted he was a 26 year old unknown coming into this season, but he has been out of this world dominant this year. In the time he has split between AA and AAA this season, Ramirez has posted a 0.67 ERA, with a staggering 74 Ks in 40 innings.
Apparently his fastball barely touches 90 MPH and his strikeouts come from throwing changeups off of his changeup, but he is clearly doing something right. Also, the Yankees picked him up off of the Indie League scrap heap last year, so I'm not completely sure we have a long term keeper here. However, at this point the guy has to be worth a look. Even if this is just a complete fluke year for Ramirez, I'd rather extract some real value out of his career year, instead of giving Roy and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin warehouse workers a season to tell their grandkids about. Get him out of Scranton now!
It's amazing how teams get so hung up on having a second lefty out the bullpen. Ron Villone is 37 years old, with a career ERA of 4.78. He has not finished a season with an ERA under 4.00, since 1997! While not completely worthless, he is the definition of a journeyman lefty. Villone should NEVER be an obstacle for any remotely promising pitching prospect. Right now, he is blocking two of them.
It is also time to cut bait with Kyle Farnsworth. He throws the most hittable 98 MPH fastball you'll ever see and is not available to pitch on consecutive days. He is also an ornery character and is more likely to have missing children buried in his backyard than anybody in professional sports. There is not much there to like.
In sum, demote Villone, eat half of Farnsworth's contract and trade him for the proverbial bag of balls, and let us see what Britton and Ramirez can do.