Armando Galarraga or Sergio Mitre: Who is Yankees Best Option?

The Tigers recently designated Armando Galarraga for assignment and since the Yankees are still on the look out for a starting pitcher it has obviously drawn fans attention towards him.

The thing is that for all the fame Galarraga has attained as a major leaguer it really has all come from one game – his imperfect game – because at this point in his career he has been a bit underwhelming.

Gallaraga, 29, broke into the league as a Texas Ranger in 2007. He threw just 8.2 innings in three games. He came back in 2008 with the Tigers and had a very strong rookie campaign throwing 178.2 innings with an ERA+ of 121, a K/9 of 6.3 and a BB/9 of just 3.1.

After that things did not go so well though. His ERA+ dropped from 121 to 81 to 93. His K/9 went down from 6.3 to 6.0 to 4.6. His BB/9 went from 3.1 to 4.2 then rebounded to 3.2.

Nothing is extremely overwhelming, but they don’t have to. The only question is, is better than Sergio Mitre?

The thing about Mitre is that he’s been in the league longer, he was a rookie in 2003, but because of injuries and ineffectiveness has actually pitched in fewer innings. They are comparable though, 475.1 for Galarraga and 416.1 for Mitre. So let’s start comparing them.

First of all, Mitre’s ERA+ over his career is just 83 against Galarraga’s 97. That is not good for Mitre especially considering Mitre pitched a good portion of his career in the National League. Galarraga barely beats out Mitre in K/9 over their careers at 5.7 vs. 5.4 respectively. Mitre has better command though with a 3.0 BB/9 against Galarraga’s 3.5.

The thing is that while Galarraga is trending downward, Mitre is trending up. Since becoming a Yankee Mitre has thrown 105.2 innings. In that time his ERA+, his K/9, and his BB/9 are all better than his career averages at 89, 5.2 and 2.5 respectively.

So even though Galarraga has better career numbers than Mitre, Mitre has the better recent peripherals (Galarraga’s ERA+ is still slightly better than Mitre’s in his time with the Yankees 93 vs. 89).

I’ve thrown a lot of numbers out already, but the bottom line is that these two are very close. Galarraga had a better start to his career, but Mitre has gotten better and they seem to have met in the middle. Or at least close enough that the Yankees probably don’t need Galarraga.

In the end the one big advantage that Galarraga has over Mitre is stamina. Mitre hasn’t thrown at least 150 innings since 2007. If the Yankees are really looking for a reliable innings eater at the back of their rotation then Galarraga could be the guy. Not because he’s better than Mitre, but merely because he threw 188.2 innings last year and that’s not something to get too excited over.

In the end Joba Chamberlain is probably better than both of them.

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18 Responses to Armando Galarraga or Sergio Mitre: Who is Yankees Best Option?

  1. Roy says:

    Either John Flaherty or Al Leiter said of Sergio Mitre that his stuff was good enough to go through a lineup once or twice. That seemed a good explanation why Mitre is a five-inning pitcher. I was hoping that we would see whatever Joe Girardi saw in the ex-Cub. My gut feeling is that what you see with Mitre is what you get; he is a solid long-relief guy. On a good day, when he's got movement, he can mow down a lineup. But I think that the Sergio Mitre of the second half of 2010 is a good as it gets.

    • Matt C says:

      Roy, I think you're dead on.

      Rob, I'm surprised Joba's name is not in the starting pitcher mix at this point. Feliciano takes pressure off the 7th inning. My guess is they'll see how the stable looks in spring training, and if they have to move Joba then they will do so.

      • Franco Kotos says:

        Joba needs a makeover and the new pitching coach could help…unfortunately, a lot of these young pitchers benefited from Dave Eiland while he was their pitching coach in the minors…Phil Hughes certainly was a protege of Dave Eiland…

        • How would you say any of them benefited from Eiland? I don't think any of them have really met expectations completely under him.

          • Franco Kotos says:

            Eiland worked extensively with Hughes and Ian Kennedy through two levels…Hughes is where he is today because of Eiland imo…what became problematic was Eiland's emphasis on pitch count and more importantly, how he over-focused on young pitchers developing and throwing a variety of pitches early in their career…there is no question that Hughes, Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain developed under Eiland…some coaches are better off in the minor league systems…

          • Franco Kotos says:

            I believe Phil Hughes has exceeded expectations…Joba is a head case, there's no easy remedy for that but his talent is there and we saw it during his first year…and Ian Kennedy was considered one of the Yankees top pitchers before his injury and subsequent trade…i don't recall what he did in the bigs in 2010 but he seems like a bonafide starter…

          • Franco Kotos says:

            pitching prospects…

          • Kennedy did so much better away from Eiland though. I can't give credit here. And if Eiland gets benefit of doubt for helping Hughes, then shouldn't he receive some blame for Joba being so inconsistent? I don't think Eiland did anything special with the kids.

          • Franco Kotos says:

            I'm not sure how much you follow the Yankees minor league system but Dave Eiland has been credited by many people including independent sources for developing Joba, Hughes and Kennedy while they were at the upper levels of the system…once a player hits the major leagues, you are dealing with different kinds of pressure especially playing for the Yankees…Eiland would have been better off staying with the kids in the minors where pressures are more internal than external…

          • Franco Kotos says:

            and Kennedy did so much better away from Eiland is not a fair comparison…he did better while playing for a team with less pressure…Kennedy had been dealing with a strained lat muscle that finally gave way in May 2008…the year before in 3 starts he looked like the phenom the Yankees believed he could be when they drafted him in the 1st round two years prior…Yanks should have held onto Kennedy…his problems had little to do with Eiland…

          • At this point I'd be willing to be that I follow the minor league a whole lot more than you. I'd like to see any independent sources that would credit Eiland for any development of those guys.

            1st of all, Nardi Contreras would probably be the guy who would get credit.

            2nd of all, Joba spend all of 8 innings with Eiland in the minors. You want to give Eiland credit for Joba's entire inconsistent career after he dealt with him for 8 innings? Are you out of your mind?

          • Franco Kotos says:

            Rob, there's no need for personal insults…you asked a question and I gave you an answer…how would you know if you have more knowledge of the Yankees minor league system than myself…let's see your sources because I'm not convinced at all…you have developed a blog, people are going to disagree with you…Contreras was involved with the "Joba Rules" but to think that he was that important in the development of his career compared to Eiland is incorrect……you're involved with the BBD and I appreciate your contributions but people are going to disagree with you,…i'm not sure why you made it personal…

          • Franco Kotos says:

            i'm happy to talk with fellow Yankee fans and have founds several people hear to be very informative and helpful…i'm a regular on the Fox Yankee boards, a moderator in several groups and fairly well respected…if I'm wrong about something, tell me but don't tell me I'm out of my mind for stating an opinion…

          • I just asked if you were out of your mind. Don't go getting all upset. For the record, I am a working journalist who has covered the Yankees minor league system at a few levels.

            Here is how it works. Dave Eiland was the Scranton Yankees pitching coach in 2007. Joba Chamberlain was there for all of 8 innings. That's barely enough time for Eiland to even evaluate Joba, let alone have any say in his development.

            Even if Joba had spent a decent amount of time with Eiland in the minors it probably wouldn't have mattered too much as the man who is really in charge of the pitchers' development down there is Nardi Contreras. He works with the players to develop a program and the team's pitching coach is just there to make sure they are sticking to it and helps him with things as they arise. Generally the team's pitching coaches have almost no say in a player's development. They can make suggests, but have no real authority.

            Also, Joba really hasn't exactly flourished during his career. He's been good here and there, but inconsistent overall. So to say that Eiland played a big role in Joba's development, even if it were true, doesn't mean a whole lot.

            I'm sorry with my you must be outta your mind comment. I didn't mean anything personally. It was only meant to point out the absurdity of the idea that Eiland had a big influence on Joba after working with him for only 8 innings which as I said is not even enough time to properly evaluate him.

  2. Tony R says:

    I see Joba in a package to the White Sox for Jackson or Floyd. The White Sox need bullpen help and the Yankees need a starter, Seems like a perfect match.

  3. Franco Kotos says:

    I don't like Mitre nor Galaragga…if Galaragga has a much higher era against lefties, as has been pointed out in other articles, he will have difficulty against the Boston lineup which is predominantly lefties…we need different options…

  4. Susan says:

    As far as Mitre vs. Galarraga, I'd say Galarraga would be the better option but that doesn't mean it's a good option. Let's face it, I'D be a better option that Mitre and I probably can't pitch 30 mph. Honest to Pete, is this the best the NEW YORK YANKEES can come up with?