Our Pal Al: Leiter Returns (to the Rescue?)

It’s been a long while since Al Leiter’s been a Yankee (1989!), but MLB.com, quoting a source within the Marlin organization, reports he is coming back to the Pinstripers and will start Sunday. (Cashman, in today’s NYT, denied there have been talks with Florida; take that for what it’s worth.) Details of the agreement are unclear, but apparently will include the famous Player-To-Be-Named and cash (from the Floridians). What this means for the rumored deal for Colorado’s Shawn Chacon, we have no idea.

So what do we get in Al Leiter? A timid control pitcher with 60 walks (52 ks) in 80 innings, plus 88 hits (9 of them dingers), and a 6.64 era. This playing in front of a solid defense in a pitcher’s park (for what it’s worth, his road splits are actually better.) Opponents are hitting .292 (BA) .416 (OBP) .445 (SLG). His K/BB rate has declined for 5 consecutive years. And he’s a Republican. Those expecting a repeat of El Duque’s brilliant second half run last year are likely to be sorely disappointed. But we can always hope, right?

11 comments… add one
  • Actually, John-YF thinks he’s better than Schilling – so obvioulsy you are getting a 20 game winner and World Series MVP. Guys like that will always boost the rotation:(

    Brad-SF July 16, 2005, 10:38 am
  • Hopefully for you, your republican will not constantly throw his political views around the media and teammates – especially when he’s on the DL and not really contributing to the team while doing it.

    Brad-SF July 16, 2005, 11:26 am
  • Brad, Brad, Brad,
    Where did I say Leiter was better than Schilling last year?
    You like to make wild statements about the Yankees. All I do is apply the logic of your statements to the Red Sox.
    Your logic is that because Leiter has had mediocre first half, he’s finished. Apply that logic to the Red Sox: Schilling, one year younger, has had a worst year. I guess he’s washed up.
    Nowhere did I say Leiter’s had a better career than Schilling, although he has been one of the best pitchers for several years, as well as a World Series hero.
    Compare him to Boomer, who’s a year older. Leiter was clearly better last year. I guess Boomer’s washed up.
    Your logic says Cash is to blame for the Yankee injuries. Apply that logic to the Red Sox. It must be Theo’s fault that Schilling, Mantei and Foulke have all been injured. Also Theo’s fault that Booomer and Arroyo have been so inconsistent. But I guess we can give Theo credit for trying to give away the leading RBI man in the major leagues for nothing.

    john yf July 16, 2005, 11:33 am
  • YF –
    Take a look at the look on Joe’s and Derek’s faces at http://massengale.typepad.com/venustas/
    We need to do something, and even at his worst, Leiter is better than Redding and May. At the very least, he’s worth a gamble until some combination of Pavano, Brown, Wright and Wong come back.

    john yf July 16, 2005, 11:46 am
  • Re Derek and Joe: “Ease their pain.”

    john yf July 16, 2005, 11:53 am
  • One thing to watch re Leiter is that he left NYC having pretty much burned all sorts of bridges in terms of the media. I never quite got straight what he said about the city, the Mets organization, and certain WFAN talk show hosts in particular, but I did hear the fallout where they (the talk show hosts) were overtly wishing Leiter ill for the rest of his life. If Al comes to the Bronx and struggles, he’s gonna get slaughtered, and it seems he’s pretty sensitive to that sort of stuff…
    Anyway, let’s hope that he comes and surprises us all. A couple complete-game shutouts would be nice.

    Spidey July 16, 2005, 12:16 pm
  • News
    Bernie’s back in center
    Kevin Brown pitches Monday
    Al Leiter pitches Sunday, if approved by MLB

    john yf July 16, 2005, 12:46 pm
  • What wild statements did I make about the Yankees? Please inform.

    Brad-SF July 16, 2005, 3:23 pm
  • And yes, it is Theo’s fault for Foulke and Mantei. He should have forced Foulke to have the operation last winter, and should have never picked up Mantei. Trust me, I’ll never try to mask the blame with a GM – of course it was his fault.

    Brad-SF July 16, 2005, 3:39 pm
  • I think I just heard that Nomo was DFA’ed – maybe the Yanks should pick him up as well.

    Brad-SF July 16, 2005, 8:31 pm
  • Leiter was a teenage flamethrower when the Yankees traded him to Toronto for Jesse Barfield after Dave Winfield was injured. When he became a winning pitcher, he threw less hard but had good movement on his fastball and his cutter.

    According to reports, he can still throw about as hard as he has during most of his tenure as a winning pitcher. But the same reports same the movement on his pitches is less, and that trying to compensate he’s walked a lot of hitters. His hit to inning ratio is okay, but he’s got way to many walks. Since the second month of the season, he’s consistently pitched to a 6.5 or so era every month.

    There are a few distinct possibilities for his start today:

    1. He’ll pitch the way he did for the Marlins, the Yanks won’t score enough against Wakefield to compensate, and the Yanks will lose.
    2. The adrenaline will flow, he’ll get his head together, and pitch well enough to win.
    3. He’ll lose today but work with Mel to get a 4.5 to 5 era as long as the Yanks need him, and win more games than he loses.

    Of course there are endless other possibilities, like bombing Wakefield in the first inning: that’s not very likely, but baseball always has surprises. Even in the worst case of the most likely scenarios, though, they’re paying so little for him that this will satisfy their need for pitchers who aren’t on the DL who can pitch in the major leagues. After using May in relief of Redding, the Yankees have no one else to start today.

    Leiter was a good pitcher last year and the year before. Good enough for the Marlins to pay him $8 million to come back to Florida. There is certainly a chance that coming back home to New York (he’s from Toms River, NJ and now lives in Westchester or Connecticut) will get him out of a mechanical or psychological funk. The Yankees did the right thing in getting him for what appears to be $400,000 for the rest of the year.

    john yf July 17, 2005, 7:42 am

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