Checking in on a few familiar names and faces…
Released at the end of spring training, the veteran reliever signed a minor league deal with the Marlins and has been hit-or-miss in Triple-A. Last time out, he got only two outs, gave up two home runs and walked two batters. The two outings before that, he pitched a total of three scoreless innings. The outing before that: Three hits, two walks and two runs in one inning. The three outings before that: A total of 4.1 scoreless innings with one hit. All told, Aardsma’s pitched nine innings with six strikeouts, six walks and eight hits in the hitter-friendly PCL.
The Yankees finally invited Almonte to big league camp, but he never actually showed up this spring. Almonte was traded to the Mariners for Shawn Kelley, ending a Yankees tenure that occasionally showed some potential. The Mariners have sent Almonte back to Double-A, where he’s split time between center and right field. He’s hit pretty well — .268/.381/.451 with four stolen bases and three homers; hit for the cycle this week — but repeating Double-A suggests he’s just as overshadowed in the Mariners system as he would have been with the Yankees.
Remember this guy? He never actually spent a day in a Yankees uniform — not even in the minors — but he was on the 40-man for quite a while this winter before becoming an unavoidable casualty of the team’s roster crunch. Canzler has spent all year with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate where he’s hit .272/.402/.485 while getting time at first, third and left field. He’s hit .478/.613/1.000 against lefties. Turns out, he might have been a perfect fit for the Yankees roster after all.
The Yankees didn’t re-sign Chavez this offseason, and with Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list, Chavez suddenly looks awfully good again. He’s hitting .262/.324/.492 with the Diamondbacks, but his splits are pretty extreme (he has just six at-bats against lefties). He’s been, basically, a third-base version of Lyle Overbay. And you have to wonder, would the Yankees have signed Overbay if they had Chavez on the roster?
After six games in Triple-A, the Orioles called up Dickerson to serve almost exclusively as a bench player (he’s had just three starts in almost a full month on the roster). When he’s played, Dickerson has hit .308/.357/.308. His biggest downside with the Yankees was always the fact he’s a left-handed hitter in a left-leaning outfield. The Yankees wouldn’t have much more playing time for him than the Orioles have given him.
After opening the season in Triple-A, Garcia returned to the big leagues on Saturday and was terrific for the Orioles. Garcia pitched 6.2 innings against the Angels, allowing two runs on three hits. Through five starts in the minor leagues, he was 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA.
Traded to San Francisco in last spring’s Chris Stewart deal, Kontos emerged as a reliable middle reliever with the Giants. He’s back in the big leagues this year with a 0.94 WHIP (that might feel a little overshadowed by his 4.76 ERA). Given the Yankees current bullpen situation, Kontos would probably be a key late-inning reliever at the moment. But then again, the guy he was traded for is currently the everyday catcher.
Off to an unthinkably bad start, Martin was hitting just .103 a little more than two weeks into the season. He’s since gotten red hot and is hitting .272/.362/.543 for the year. Interestingly, the Pirates have started Martin at third base twice this season, including last night. He leads the team in home runs and is second to Andrew McCutchen in doubles.
The Mariners have given Montero the bulk of the playing time at catcher, but not overwhelmingly. Montero has basically the same number of at-bats as Jayson Nix, while backup Kelly Shoppach has basically the same number of at-bats as Chris Stewart. But it seems fair to wonder how much longer the Mariners will stick with Montero, who’s hitting just .203/.250/.324 with two homers and just one double this season. His OPS is barely better than Eduardo Nunez’s.
I’m breaking from the alphabetical thing only because it makes sense to list Ibanez next to Montero. As bad as Montero has been this season, there are three Mariners with a lower OPS. One is defensive shortstop Brennan Ryan, another is utility infielder Robert Andino, and the other is Ibanez who’s been awful with a .167/.231/.333 slash line. He does have five extra-base hits and a .388 slugging percentage against righties, but can you imagine if the Yankees had Ibanez instead of Travis Hafner at the DH position?
The other guy the Yankees sent to Seattle in the Michael Pineda trade, Noesi was awful last year and was sent to Double-A to start this season, but he was called back to the big leagues after two scoreless starts. His first three outings back with Seattle were strong, but he just allowed six hits and three runs through two innings on Sunday. The Yankees have essentially replaced him with David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno — take your pick — so it’s hard to say Noesi is missed at this point.
More or less forgotten since the arrival of Eduardo Nunez, Pena became a free agent over the winter and landed a major league deal with the Braves who made him their utility infielder. Playing quite a bit of late-inning third base — with a few starts at second base and shortstop — Pena has actually delivered a .300/.404/.450 slash line. Not sure he can actually keep up that pace, but the numbers are awfully good so far.
Cut at the very end of spring training — the Yankees essentially preferred to keep Lyle Overbay and Ben Francisco — Rivera was out of work for a full month before signing a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks. He was sent to extended spring training and has yet to get into a game of record.
Still drawing a lot of walks, Swisher has been an on-base threat for the Indians, but he hasn’t hit for his usual power. He has three homers, six doubles and a .418 slugging percentage as the Indians regular clean-up hitter and first baseman. He had three doubles on April 20, but has just one extra-base hit — a home run — since then.
Associated Press photos