Raul Valdes Given a Brief Moment to Impress the Yankees

It’s an understatement to say that Boone Logan has been maddening this season. Injuries forced him to be the lone lefty in the Yankees bullpen and his inconsistency has driven us all mad.

He has run hot and cold all year from getting off to a bad start, to turning it around after a pep talk from Alex Rodriguez, back to cold again. Even when Logan seems to be getting the job done, he has a 2.08 ERA over his last 22 appearances, he is actually getting crushed, batters have a .302 average and .879 OPS against him in that same span.

That inconsistency is why Aaron Laffey seems to be getting tested by manager Joe Girardi in spots, he just doesn’t trust Logan. Unfortunately Laffey has not stepped up which has opened the door for Raul Valdes.

Not many people know much about Valdes except that he used to be a Met back in 2010 and some don’t even know that.

Valdes, 33, is a fastball/slider guy who originally hails from Cuba. He defected in 2003 and signed with the Cubs as a un-drafted free agent in 2004 at the age of 26. Not sure how hard he threw back then, but today he throws a fastball at about 87 mph and his slider in the mid-70’s. He also occasionally throws a changeup, but that is very rare.

He played in Double and Triple-A in the Cubs system from 2005-2006 with little success. At the end of that season he played in a couple of independent league teams before joining up with the Mets in 2007 only to be released before the 2008 season.

After some more time in a few independent leagues he rejoined the Mets for the 2010 season. It probably didn’t have much to do with any improvement exactly, but just the fact that breathing lefties can always find work. Either way he impressed Mets manager Jerry Manuel enough that he would finally get his major league debut after toiling in baseball purgatory since 2003.

Playing for a putrid Mets team he didn’t pitch well and was destroyed by lefties who had a .366 OBP and a .991 OPS against him.

Amazingly he got work again after that sad effort and signed with the Cardinals in the offseason. Something sort of amazing happened considering the context of his career, he didn’t totally blow it. In just seven games he had a 3.38 ERA and his 8.9 K/9 ratio was just high enough that Yankees general manager, desperate for a lefty reliever, took a chance and claimed him off waivers.

Since being in the Yankees organization, Valdes has spent the majority of his time in Double and Triple-A, not allowing an earned run over 4.2 innings. Again, he hasn’t been overly impressive at any stop, but because of the Yankees need for a lefty he got a September call-up.

Now he’s here because relievers are volatile. Good ones don’t last long and bad ones tend to occasionally run off decent streaks of success. The Yankees have done well over the past four years of throwing lots of shit at the wall when it comes to the pen and occasionally finding something that sticks.

Valdes hasn’t gotten much of a chance, but thanks to back-to-back strong outings and a near collapse of Logan he has been thrown on the wall. We’ll see if he can stick, he won’t be given a very good chance, even the slightest hint that he won’t do well will banish him to the back of the pen again, but there is a chance.

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