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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fallacy of the dominant bullpen: Astros defeat Yankees in game seven semi-final.

Supposedly the 2017 Yankees had it but they just lost game seven of the semi-finals to the Houston Astros 4-0 as Houston used two starting pitchers, Charlie Morton (5) and Lance McCullers (4) , to shutout the Yankees. No actual relief pitchers for Houston. Good for them.

Meanwhile, Yankee relief ace Aroldis Chapman never got into the game. In the regular season: 50.33 innings. In the 2017 tournament another 7.66 innings. That's 58 innings total. Obviously, neither Chapman nor any other relief pitchers can pitch in more than about 60-70 regular season games, certainly not every game. And for the games when a team can use four of its one inning wonders, the more pitchers used, the more the chance that at least one of them is ineffective that day.

Chapman's contract:

201729New York Yankees$17,200,0006.009contracts
201830New York Yankees$17,200,000
201931New York Yankees$17,200,000May opt out of contract following 2019 season.
202032New York Yankees$17,200,000
202133New York Yankees$17,200,000
Earliest Free Agent: 202

Yankee general manager Brian Cashman could have spent that money much better elsewhere. Meanwhile, Cashman hasn't even tried to sign a big free agent starting pitcher since Masahiro Tanaka, who signed for the 2014 season. That's three vacant years: 2015, 2016, 2017. And who was the most recent big free agent slugger the Yankees signed? Mark Teixeira for 2009; he retired after 2016.

Pinching pennies and squandering dollars as the Yankees try again, however inconsistently, to get under the team salary cap in 2018. Cashman was poised to do that for the 2014 season but before signing Tanaka, Cashman foolishly signed three free agent players for big bucks whom the Yankees didn't even need: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Both McCann and Beltran are on Houston in 2017.

It's ironic that Houston defeated the Yankees in the game seven showdown with an old fashion approach: benching the bullpen.

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