Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jonathan Albaladejo Beats Out Tomko, Aceves for Roster Spot

According to Yankees manger Joe Girardi, Jonathan Albaladejo has earned himself a spot in the bullpen and on the 25-man roster.

Acquired in a trade with the Washington Nationals last offseason for pitching prospect Tyler Clippard, Albaladejo is now in his second season in pinstripes.

Though he has certainly earned his place after posting a 0.93 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in nine appearances, the reasoning is a bit of an enigma.

By selecting Albaladejo for the roster, the Yankees cannot find room for Brett Tomko, Alfredo Aceves, or Dan Giese.

This leaves the team without a long relief option, which becomes an issue as a result of Joba Chamberlain's perceived innings limit.

While Giese and Aceves struggled for most of the spring, Tomko pitched with the poise and consistency expected of a veteran pitcher.

Tomko pitched to a 1.17 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He also produced a 6:1 strikeout/walk ratio, and showed the ability to spot start in the event of an unexpected injury.

I understand that Tomko's numbers occurred in spring training games, and should not be taken too seriously.

The problem is, Albaladejo's did as well, and he does not have the experience or polished mechanics of a veteran like Tomko.

In just seven appearances with the Yankees last season, Albaladejo walked six batters. This is a quality in a reliever that does nothing but raise a manager's blood pressure.

It will be interesting to see how the bullpen is affected by Girardi's decision, but I would not be surprised if Albaladejo's stay is shorter than he had hoped.

Adjustments can be made at any time, and a long man from the minor leagues is just a phone call away.

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