13 Jun 2012
Friday, the Yankees will activate David Robertson from the DL. While the team has played some of its best baseball of the year without him, there is no doubt that his return is a boost. The question is, who gets sent down/released to make room for him?
While Joe Girardi may think that Cody Eppley has been “great” the numbers tell otherwise. Eppley has walked 6 and struck out 6 in 12.2 innings of work. He has survived that by inducing an amazing ground ball to fly ball rate of 2.33 and a line drive rate of 8%. In short, his 3.55 ERA is all about small sample size and big luck and you can expect it to jump a lot closer to his FIP of 4.55 in the near future. Normally, that would make him my choice to be sent down, but there is a longer-term question that needs to be considered. What are the Yankees plans for David Phelps?
Phelps has looked good in his 33 innings, but he has become a victim of too many arms in the bullpen. In the last two weeks he has made one appearance and thrown nine pitches. While he may not project as a top of the line starter, he looks like he could be a very competent back of the rotation guy. But, if the Yankees leave him as the 12th guy on the big league staff, he certainly won’t throw enough innings to fill that role in 2013. The Yankees had a similar situation last year with Hector Noesi. They left him to rot in their bullpen for long stretches of time. I hope they don’t make that same mistake with Phelps.
To me the decision comes down to either finding a way to use Phelps more, or sending him down to the minors to pitch. I truly believe he can help this team more than Eppley or Freddy Garcia, but unless the Yankees are willing to use him, there is no point in hampering his development. If the Yankees send Eppley down Friday, I won’t complain. But, if they do that and then leave Phelps languishing in the pen, I certainly will.