Sunday, June 04, 2006

Aaron Small

When a pitcher's curveball is hanging, he makes an adjustment. He either slightly alters the way he throws the ball or he stops throwing it. Otherwise, he gets hit, and hard. When his fastball is running outside, he moves his foot across the rubber an inch or two. Or he doesn't throw as hard. Or he throws a few more changeups or sliders. If a team is running on that pitcher, he throws over a few more times.

When a batter is being pitched inside hard, he may take half a step back into the batters box. When he's being thrown a lot of changeups, he may take an extra half second before swinging.

Making adjustments is part of the game. This does not stop off the field. The Yankees front office never fails to surprise me in their ability to stubbornly stick with poor players.

It should have been pretty obvious. Aaron Small, a 33 year old pitcher posting an average ERA in AA ball. He was called up as a desperation move, and by some ungodly streak he managed to go 10-0 with a 3.20 ERA. The Yankees resigned him based on this performance, as they should have.

What they should not have done is expect Aaron Small to be a good pitcher. They took a flyer on him, but very quickly Small showed that he was going to revert back to the Aaron Small of old.

But they kept putting him out there. Injuries forced him in to the rotation, even though they had better options in the minors (Mendoza, Wilson, Rasner). When he faltered, the Yankees continued to put him out there.

Well today Aaron Small has finally hit rock bottom. His ERA is over 9. He has not had a single successful outing all year. He is finished. Nothing other than the immediately release or trade of Aaron Small will be the proper move. He is useless. Get him off this team.

This is not an isolated incident. Just look at Bernie. They kept putting him out in CF last year despite the clear and obvious malus to the team that he was causing.