Posts Tagged ‘Brian Bruney’

Nationals Find A New Closer, Sign Matt Capps

December 24, 2009

Last week I wrote a post titled “Brian Bruney Strikes Fantasy Gold.” The reasoning behind the post was that with no other options in Washington, it looked like Bruney would become the Nationals’ closer in 2010.

Whoops!

That’s what the kids call these days as “Jumping the gun.” Bruney’s reign as closer in Washington lasted maybe two weeks.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com, the Nationals have signed former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Matt Capps to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. Capps can earn another $425,000 based on the number of games finished.

Capps is the new closer in DC

So far this offseason, the Nationals have added a solid starter in Jason Marquis, an eighth inning set-up man in Bruney, and now their closer in Capps. I won’t mention the Ivan Rodriguez signing because that was a terrible move.

But overall, the Nationals have had a very active and productive offseason. The Capps signing was a good move for both clubs for a couple of reasons.

For Capps, he had offers from the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets, but chose the Nationals because they give him the best shot to be a closer and to re-establish his value for next offseason.

After having solid 2007 and 2008 seasons, Capps really fell off in 2009. Capps had a 5.80 ERA and registered the highest BB/9 rate of his career (2.8/9).

He also registered the highest K/9 of his career as well (7.6/9). Perhaps Capps just needs a change of scenery. The Nationals will give Capps that change of scenery in 2010.
For the Nationals, this is another move to help try to improve upon a disastrous bullpen in 2009. I don’t mind a rebuilding team signing veteran players as long as A. It doesn’t block a prospect from getting a shot and B. the contract doesn’t become an albatross in the future.
The Capps signing doesn’t do either.
Capps will not block Drew Storen’s development as the closer of the future and Capps only signed a one-year deal. No harm, no foul.
Plus, if Capps does have a bounce back year, the Nationals could always trade him for prospects in July or August. Contending teams always are looking for bullpen help down the stretch.
Capps will be 27-years-old next year and has a career 3.61 ERA in five seasons with the Pirates.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Brian Bruney Strikes Fantasy Gold

December 14, 2009

Saturday night was the deadline for teams to tender players with less than six years service time contracts. There were a lot of quality players who were non-tendered contracts that night.

One of those players who was non-tendered a contract was Mike MacDougal of the Washington Nationals. MacDougal, by default became the Nationals’ closer last year after original closer Joel Hanrahan was ineffective.

Bruney could be the Nats closer in 2010

MacDougal picked up 20 saves and had a respectable 3.60 ERA in 50 games for the Nationals in 2009. However, his one-to-one strike out to walk ratio and hip surgery in October was probably the reason he was not tendered a contract.

Now that MacDougal is gone for now (the Nationals could still bring him back), the Nationals need a closer for 2010. Enter recently acquired Brian Bruney.

Bruney was acquired from the New York Yankees for a Player To Be Named Later (Jamie Hoffmann) and now stands to be the Nationals’ closer in 2010. As scary as that seems, there is nobody else in Washington right now who even remotely looks capable of closing games.

Bruney needs to limit his walks and of course, stay healthy in order to be effective for the Nationals. For a guy with decent stuff, Bruney walks way, way to many batters.

Bruney for his career has averaged 6.2 walks/9 innings. It’s hard to rely on a guy who goes to a 3-2 count on every batter and almost walks as many as he strikes out (8.9 K’s/9 for his career).

However, that is what the Nationals might have to do in 2010.

The Nationals gave their bullpen 58 save opportunities last year, which ranked towards the bottom of baseball. I don’t think the Nationals will rush Drew Storen to the majors, so Bruney should have the opportunity to save between 25 and 30 games in 2010.

Bruney went from afterthought with the Yankees, to a fantasy option in 2010. Draft Bruney as a low-end, number two closer in most fantasy formats.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

New York Yankees Trade Brian Bruney To Washington Nationals

December 7, 2009

The baseball winter meetings are underway and there is nothing to better help to kick off the meetings than a blockbuster trade.

Well, not exactly.

There was one trade today so far, but a blockbuster it is not.

Today, the New York Yankees traded relief pitcher Brian Bruney to the Washington Nationals for a Player To Be Named Later. This is probably a good thing for Bruney’s career.

Going to Washington is good for Bruney

Bruney, who is 28, strikes me as a guy who can’t pitch in a big market. Every single time the Yankees gave him an opportunity to do something in the Bronx, either Bruney got hurt or imploded.

Remember, it was Bruney who came into the 2009 season as the eighth inning set-up guy to Mariano Rivera. But of course Bruney struggled, got hurt, Phil Hughes took over in the eighth, and the rest is history.

Bruney will go to Washington and have a chance to be the eighth inning set-up to current closer Mike MacDougal. There is an outside chance of Bruney getting a shot at being the closer in Washington if the Nationals non-tender MacDougal.

Bruney needs to limit his walks and of course, stay healthy in order to be effective for the Nationals. For a guy with decent stuff, Bruney walks way, way to many batters.

Bruney for his career has averaged 6.2 walks/9 innings. It’s hard to rely on a guy who goes to a 3-2 count on every batter and almost walks as many as he strikes out (8.9 K’s/9 for his career).

Bruney has pitched six seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Yankees and will be under the Nationals’ control until after the 2011 season.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

2009 World Series Preview And Prediction

October 28, 2009

Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Yankees

Schedule

Yankee Stadium

Game One: Wednesday, Oct. 28 7:57 ET. Cliff Lee vs. CC Sabathia

Game Two: Thursday, Oct. 29 7:57 ET. Pedro Martinez vs. AJ Burnett

Citizens Bank Park

Game Three: Saturday, Oct. 31 7:57 ET. Andy Pettitte vs. Cole Hamels

Game Four: Sunday, Nov. 1 8:20 ET. TBD vs. TBD

Game Five*: Monday, Nov. 2 7:57 ET. TBD vs. TBD

Yankee Stadium

Game Six*: Wednesday, Nov. 4 7:57 ET. TBD vs. TBD

Game Seven*: Thursday, Nov 5 7:57 ET. TBD vs. TBD

* If necessary

Umpires

Gerry Davis (crew chief), Joe West, Dana DeMuth, Brian Gorman, Mike Everitt, Jeff Nelson

Roster Changes

Phillies – In: Brett Myers. Out: Miguel Cairo

Yankees – In: Eric Hinske, Brian Bruney. Out: Freddy Guzman, Francisco Cervelli

Cliff Lee2

Lee will take the ball in Game One

Matchups

Yankee hitters vs. Lee, Martinez, and Hamels – .269/.327/.444

Philly hitters vs. Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte – .249/.281/.417

Preview

At 7:57 ET tonight, the Phillies and the Yankees will officially begin the 2009 World Series or “The worst case scenario for New York Mets fans.”

Not only do the Mets suffer one of their worst seasons in franchise history, but now they have to watch their hated division rival and hated cross-town rival in the World Series. Talk about a punch to the gut.

Don’t worry Mets fans, you will get through it. As a New York Jets fan, I went through something similar a couple of years ago when the New England Patriots played the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

I rooted for the Giants in that game. I decided there was no way I could ever root for the Patriots under any circumstances. I am getting a sense that most Mets fans are feeling the same way towards the Phillies.

Now let’s talk about the two teams that matter–the Phillies and the Yankees. This will be the first time perhaps since 1999 that the two best teams in baseball are playing each other for the championship.

I have thought long and hard about this series and which direction I want to go. For me, this series comes down to a couple of things.

1. Will the Phillies look like a deer in headlights like the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim did? Let’s be realistic here–the Yankees beat both teams because both teams turned into the Kansas City Royals.

It’s not like the Yankees bludgeoned both teams.

The Yankees will always capitalize on errors and bad baserunning. Their lineup is too good not to.

If the Phillies make the same errors and baserunning mistakes the Twins and Angels did–they will lose this series.

2. Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park Scott Eyre, and Ryan Madson vs. Phil Hughes, Domaso Marte, Joba Chamberlain, and David Robertson. This series will be determined mainly by the under-belly of the bullpen–not by the closers.

I laugh when people say the Yankees have the advantage in the pen because of Mariano Rivera. Isn’t that the case with every game of every series the Yankees play in?

Saying the Yankees have an advantage because of Rivera, is like saying the Bulls had an advantage at shooting guard with Michael Jordan. It’s a given.

It’s going to be how the pitchers before Rivera fair that will determine the outcome of the game. In particular, Marte.

Girardi was going to Marte over Phil Coke in the ALCS in late inning situations vs. a left-handed batter. With the way Girardi overmanages, Marte is going to be asked at some point during this series to get Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, or Raul Ibanez out.

Does any Yankee fan feel confident with first and second and one out in the seventh and Girardi calls on Marte to pitch to Utley and Howard?

Pedro Phillies

Pedro will go in Game Two

3. Can Pedro Martinez and Cole Hamels step up? If the Phillies are going to win this series, then one of these guys is going to have to step up. Martinez pitched better than anyone expected in Game Two of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now Martinez is expected to win against the Yankees in Game Two of the World Series. I have my doubts about this move.

Why open up a hornet’s nest by starting Martinez in the Bronx with all his prior history with the Yankees? Martinez is a National League pitcher at this point in his career. Let him start in Game Three or Four against a National League lineup with the pitcher hitting.

If Martinez doesn’t pitch well in Game Two, then the Phillies are going to need Hamels to wake up in Game Three. There is no evidence to suggest that he can.

His fastball is flat, his curveball has no break to it, and his body language on the mound stinks. That’s a recipe for disaster against the Yankees.

4. Will the layoff hurt the Phillies? We saw a long layoff hurt the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and the Colorado Rockies in 2007. The Phillies haven’t played since the 21st.

I think for the Phillies, the layoff won’t matter. Remember, they had a long layoff last year going into the World Series and that didn’t affect them at all.

5. Will Girardi Girardi overmange the Yankees out of a World Series title? If Girardi was overmanaging in an American League game, what is going to happen in those three games in Philadelphia? It might get ugly.

Girardi has been bailed out by Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees’ overall talent. What happens when the Yankees don’t bail him out?

Prediction

I have picked against the Phillies all postseason. I have picked the Yankees all postseason. Everything in me is leaning towards picking the Yankees.

They have the better pitching and they will catch a break someone. The inevitable bad call that favors the Yankees will happen somewhere during the series

I’ll keep my trend going.

Yankees in Six

MVP – Mark Teixeira

Also, for those of you in the New York/Long Island area, I will be on AM 1240 WGBB this Sunday night on Sports Talk Live with Frankie The Sports Guy at 10:30 PM ET.

We’ll be talking about the World Series and some other things that are going on in baseball.

Bullpens Off To Rough Start In 09….

April 9, 2009

With a couple of exceptions like the Mets offseason blueprint working to perfection on Opening Day, the pitching out of the bullpen has been terrible so far in 2009. Blown leads, blown saves and overall just poor performances have managers reluctant to go to the pen late in the game. Let’s take a look at some of the bullpen disasters that have occurred in just 4 days of games….

Monday

Yankees vs Orioles

With the Orioles up 6-3, Chris Ray comes in and gives up a HR, a single, 1 walk and 2 runs in just 8 pitches. Score becomes 6-5 Orioles.

After the Yankees came all the back from a 6-1 deficit and made it 6-5, Phil Coke and Brian Bruney destroy any momentum they had by giving up 3 hits, 3 walks and 4 runs in just 2 innings.

Pirates vs Cardinals

With the Cardinals up 2-1 heading into the 9th, Jason Motte implodes in his 1st save opportunity. 1 inning, 4 hits, 4 runs and 1 blown save later, the Cardinals lose 4-2

Royals vs White Sox

It was all set up for the Royals. Gil Meche hurled 7 strong, give the ball to Farnsworth for the 8thand then close it out with Soria in the 9th. Things didn’t work out that way for the Royals. Farnsworth was terrible in the 8th inning. 4 hits and 1 giant Jim Thome 3 run HR gave the White Sox a 4-2 win.

Ryan blows a save

Ryan blows a save

Tuesday

Tigers vs Blue Jays

My lord is Brandon Lyon terrible. Lyon comes in trying to protect a 3-1 lead and the first batter he faces, Aaron Hill tags him for a 3 run HR. 4-3 Blue Jays.

After Aaron Hill gave the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead, Cito Gaston called on BJ Ryan to close out the game. Ryan, who looked like he was throwing the ball 50 mph gave up a massive HR to Brandon Inge. Game tied 4-4

Blue Jay fans didn’t need to worry because for some odd reason Lyon is still in the game. The Blue Jays go on to beat Lyon and win the game, 5-4.

Rays vs Red Sox

Josh Beckett looked like a man possessed for 7 innings on Tuesday. Francona then went to Okajima and Okajima promptly hits the first batter he sees and walks the next. 2 batters later it is 5-3 Red Sox.

Mariners vs Twins

I have no idea what happened to Brandon Morrow. With the Mariners up 5-3 in the 9th inning, Morrow retired the 1st 2 batters with ease. Then all of a sudden he lost it. Morrow walked 3 straight batters to walk the bases loaded. Miguel Batista came in, gave up 2 singles and the game was over. 6-5 Twins.

Yesterday

Braves vs Phillies

This was the mother of all bullpen disasters. The Braves were up 10-3 in the 7th inning!!!! In a spectacular performance Eric O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan and Blaine Boyer gave up 3 hits, 4 walks and 8 runs in just 1/3 of an inning. What a clown show by those 3.

A’s vs Angels

The usually reliable Angels bullpen imploded yesterday. After Nick Adenhart pitched 6 marvelous innings in which he didn’t allow a run, the Angels bullpen allowed 6 runs in the final 3 innings. New Angels closer, Brian Fuentes allowed 4 hits, 1 walk and 3 earned runs in the 9th to take the loss. Here is what I wrote about Fuentes in my “Key Players On Each MLB Team” post…”I always viewed Fuentes as a nice lefty set-up guy rather than a Closer for a team trying to win a World Series. For those who argue Fuentes was on the Rockies team that made it to the World Series in 07. Remember, he lost the Closer’s job to Manny Corpas during that season and he wasn’t even the Closer when the season began last year. Fuentes will have a lot of pressure on him to replace the departed Francisco Rodriguez. If he can’t handle the pressure, the Angels will have to scramble to find a Closer.” Let’s see how Fuentes handles the pressure now that he has blown a save just 3 games into the season.

As you can see this has been a rough week for the bullpens so far. There is nothing more demoralizing to a team than a blown lead late in the game. Let’s see how how these teams and bullpens bounce back in the weeks to come.