A Long Line of Lefty Losers

I hate Boone Logan. Some say “hate” is too strong of a word, but when it comes to Boone Logan, I just don’t think any other word could justify my feelings about his pitching. Maybe it’s unfair to hate a guy who doesn’t decide when he is brought into games, and maybe it makes sense to hate the guy that brings him into the games. Either way, I am not a fan of Boone Logan and I am not sure how anyone could be.

Logan is the latest in the era of horrible left-handed relievers that the Yankees have tried to make into something they are not. This era of bad lefties started when Mike Stanton left the Yankees for the first time after 2002, and except for Damaso Marte’s postseason performance last fall, it has yet to end.

Logan is the Yankees’ Creed Bratton. No one is exactly sure how he has a job or what his job is, but he manages to hang around despite these things. He wasn’t good enough to make the Yankees out of spring training, but suddenly he is a jack-of-all-trades for the Bombers. If he’s a lefty specialist, shouldn’t he just pitch to lefties? Instead, he pitches when the Yankees are leading and when they are trailing. He faces lefties and righties, and he comes in with men on base and also to start innings. There isn’t a situation Joe Girardi doesn’t like for Boone Logan. The only problem is that there isn’t a situation that Logan likes for himself.

On a night when former Yankee Phil Coke got Randy Winn to pop up with runners on the corners in a crucial spot, Boone Logan showed Coke that he has stepped in and filled the void as “the last possible person you want to see coming out of the bullpen.”  Logan pitched just one inning, but managed to allow a hit, walk two and give up a run that was the difference in the 5-4 loss.

On the Winn at-bat … The Yankees trailed 5-4. There were runners on first and third and one out and Phil Coke was on the mound. Winn had never faced Coke before, so I’m sure Kevin Long went over Coke’s arsenal with him, and I’d like to think the conversation went like this:

Winn: So, what’s he got?

Long: If Boone Logan were any worse, he’d be Phil Coke.

Coke got behind Winn 2-0. The chance of walking prior to the at-bat was 90 percent. After two straight balls (both of which were in the dirt) it had escalated to 100 percent. But on the 2-0 pitch, Winn decided he would become an RBI machine, and he swung at a high pitch that would have produced a 3-0 count if he didn’t swing. And just like that, the eighth-inning rally died.

Up until his trade to the Tigers, I had seen every appearance of Phil Coke’s in the majors. He is as scared of throwing strikes as I am of life without Derek Jeter once he retires. Coke was the least trustworthy pitcher the Yankees had seen since Tanyon Sturtze graced the Bronx with his presence. As a Yankee, he was just another lefty that couldn’t get the job done, and I’m sure over time, Tigers fans will come to realize this.

But Coke isn’t alone. Ron Villone, Buddy Groom, Wayne Franklin and Gabe White were all awful as well. The only problem is that they haven’t even been the worst of the post-Stanton era. When it comes to finding the worst Yankee lefty since 2002, none of those pitchers hold a candle to these three (in no specific order):

Number 34, Sean Henn, Number 34
Ahh, Sean Henn. When you hear the old adage that “lefties will get a million chances and hard-throwing lefties will get a million more,” think of Henn. He could throw in the high-90s. The only problem was no one knew where the ball was going when it left his hand. Once it got to the plate, it usually ended up outside the strike zone or in a gap in the outfield somewhere.

I remember seeing Henn start against the Mets on June 25, 2005 and he had his typical outing, (4.1 IP, 6 ER) in which he gave up three home runs. Two of them were to Cliff Floyd, and the first of the two I honestly thought was going to clear the right-field upper deck and land on top of Stan’s.

When people say that if the Mets released Oliver Perez, 20 teams would be willing to pick him up, it’s true. The only problem is that some lefties, no matter how hard they throw just can’t cut it. Sean Henn should be enough evidence for the Mets to realize that the chances of him going somewhere else and succeeding aren’t worth holding onto him. Henn has yet to have success in the majors, but he is still pitching for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A team in Las Vegas. As unbelievable as it is, he will always have a job pitching for some organization.

Number 36, Mike Myers, Number 36
If you looked at Mike Myers’ numbers from 2006 and 2007, you’d probably wonder why he’s on this list. But if you watched him during that time, you fully understand.

There was a time when the Yankees just started recycling the garbage from the Red Sox bullpen. And it just so happened to come after the ALCS loss in 2004. Don’t want Mike Myers? We’ll take him. Don’t want Alan Embree? We’ll take him. The Yankees became the dump for unusable Red Sox talent and even Mark Bellhorn (who magically came alive in Games 6 and 7 of the 2004 ALCS) managed to get in a few games in the Bronx. I’m still waiting for Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz to get their Yankee contracts.

Myers had one job with the Yankees: Get David Ortiz out. He was as good as this job as Isiah Thomas was at his with the Knicks.

If I could sum up Mike Myers’ time with the Yankees in one game it would have to be May 19, 2007 against the Mets. Darrell Rasner started and allowed two hits on nine pitches before getting hurt and leaving the game. Myers came in and allowed both of Rasner’s runners to score, and then gave up four earned runs of his over two innings. Unable to stop the damage and prevent further damage. That was Mike Myers.

Number 61, Billy Traber, Number 61
Before Billy Traber ever put on a Yankees uniform, he had a 5.41 ERA in 76 career games. Why wouldn’t the $200-million Yankees want him to be their left-handed specialist?

Traber only appeared in 19 games in 2008 for the Yankees, but that was enough. The newest edition of “the lefty the Yankees signed solely to get out David Ortiz” needed just 16 2/3 innings to allow 23 hits, post a WHIP of nearly 2 and an ERA of 7.02. Traber pitched at least a full inning 10 times with the Yankees, and only once did he do so without allowing someone to reach base.

For once, the Red Sox decided to take some of the Yankees’ bullpen trash, and Traber got into one game for the Red Sox last season, and it was against the Yankees. His line: 3.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 1 K, 12.27 ERA. At least the Yankees got back one of the many wins Traber cost them the year before. Good old Billy Traber.