According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, the Yankees have signed reliever Scott Proctor to a minor league contract. He is scheduled to report to Triple-A Scranton on Monday or Tuesday.
Proctor was released by the Braves earlier this week after posting an ugly 6.44 ERA and 18/19 K/BB ratio over 29 1/3 innings this season. Ironically, the 34-year-old right-hander was cleared to make room for top prospect Arodys Vizcaino, who was acquired from the Yankees as part of the Javier Vazquez trade.
Of course, Proctor spent parts of four seasons with the Yankees from 2004-2007, posting a 4.29 ERA over 190 appearances. He was used into the ground by Joe Torre, leading the American League with 83 appearances in 2006. After Torre followed him to Los Angeles, Proctor eventually underwent elbow surgery in September of 2008 and season-ending Tommy John surgery in May of 2009.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman admitted earlier this year that Proctor and other relievers were overused when Torre was manager, so perhaps this is his way of making amends.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.