It was a good day in Texas yesterday and Moose looked sharp in his return. He was removed after only 64 pitches, which would normally be a “What is Torre doing?” moment, but Moose was exhausted since he hasn’t pitched in so long and asked out of the game. What is more disconcerting is Torre used 5 pitchers to close out the game, when not ONE of them got roughed up. Torre seems determined to have every reliever get up at some point in every game. Wouldn’t it make more sense to try and get more outs from relievers and use them less frequently? What’s more taxing on a pitcher: warming up, throwing ten pitches one day then doing the same thing the next or warming up and throwing twenty pitches then having the next day off? It’s one thing if its a huge game and you need to play match-ups, but it’s May. And for the record, Torre doesn’t even play match-ups all that well. For instance, how does he have clearly fatigued Scott Proctor facing Ortiz and Ramirez in big spots two games in a row? I know its fun to hear Jon Miller on ESPN howl with delight as he calls out Ramirez’s stats versus Proctor, but come on.
I think going into every game, there should be one reliever who Torre says “unless this game goes to extra innings, I’m not using him.” Whether its Proctor, Farnsworth, Bruney, whoever (Mike Myers doesn’t count. And for that matter, neither does Carl Pavano). Buster Olney reported that one reliever said in confidentiality that he thinks he is going to suffer a serious injury pitching for Torre, and you can’t blame any one of them for saying such a thing. This is really a pretty tragic situation, especially for Proctor and Bruney. These are young pitchers still on their minor league contracts, meaning they are making something like 300-350k per year. Great salary for playing a game, true, but they are grossly underpaid by baseball standards. Every baseball player wants to have at least one big contract during his career. I don’t mean A-Rod 252 million big, but big as in multiple millions of dollars. Used correctly, Proctor and Bruney should end up with ERAs below 3.50 and great strikeout rates. When a relief pitcher of such caliber reaches the open market, they’re worth a 3 year/12 million dollar deal easy. But these guys get inflated ERAs thanks to their inflated number of appearances. And of course GMs will know they’ve been overworked and their arms are a risk. So while Joe sits there and collects his 7 mil for sleeping on the bench, he’s costing young players their shot at job security.