Tag:Clay Rapada
Posted on: February 18, 2012 6:28 pm
 

Report: Yankees close to signing Clay Rapada

By Matt Snyder

Friday, the Yankees lost some left-handed relief pitching depth when Hideki Okajima failed his physical and was released. Saturday, they appear to have zeroed in on his replacement. The Yankees are near an agreement with Clay Rapada on a minor-league contract and invitation to spring training, MLB.com reports.

Rapada is a 30-year-old left-hander. In parts of five big-league seasons, he's appeared in 78 games and compiled a 5.13 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Last season, for the Orioles, he had a 6.06 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings. He was designated for assignment from the Orioles as a corresponding move to their trading Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies for Matt Lindstrom and Jason Hammel.

Rapada would likely spend most of his time in the minors as a backup option in case Boone Logan gets hurt. Most ballclubs -- especially in the AL -- really only need one lefty in the 'pen, so Logan will serve as the primary option.

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Posted on: October 27, 2010 1:21 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 8:29 pm
 

Rangers make relief switch for World Series

The Texas Rangers, fresh off having used four left-handed relievers to vanquish the Yankees, have removed Clay Rapada and added righty Mark Lowe.

Rapada made three appearances in the ALCS, but was only able to get one out while allowing a hit and a walk in his other appearances. That performance was apparently enough to boot him instead of Michael Kirkman, who made one appearance but went two innings, walking two.

The newest addition, Mark Lowe, has only thrown three innings for the Rangers after being acquired along with Cliff Lee from the Mariners. Lowe came to town with an injury that he needed to rehab and made three appearances as the season ended.

Lowe was chosen over Dustin Nippert to help combat San Francisco's righty-heavy lineup. The 27-year-old has had varying success to date in his big-league career, but did cobble together a 3.26 ERA in 2009 with 80 innings pitched.

 -- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 26, 2010 7:14 pm
 

Rangers haven't set roster

The Rangers won't announce their 25-man roster for the World Series until tomorrow's deadline. The team did the same thing before the first two postseason series.

There won't be much of a surprise, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports 24 of the spots are set (including backup first baseman Jorge Cantu). The only question is the last bullpen spot. The Rangers will likely drop a left-hander -- either Clay Rapada or Michael Kirkman -- and add a right-hander, either Dustin Nippert or Mark Lowe.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 16, 2010 12:55 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 1:02 pm
 

Where was Feliz? Bullpen mismanagement costs game

Ron Washington During the Rangers' collapse Friday night that could haunt the franchise for years to come, manager Ron Washington burned through five pitchers in the eighth inning.

Not a one was Neftali Feliz, the 22-year-old closer that could have stemmed the tide. And yet, it's hard to argue against Washington's thought process in terms of bullpen machinations until tabbing Derek Holland, the fifth pitcher of the inning.

The skipper replaced starter C.J. Wilson with a runner on second and a man already across the plate. (One could argue replacing Wilson was the first screw-up.) He chose lefty Darren Oliver to face Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira in order to get them to hit from the right side of the plate. Good idea. Bad execution, as Oliver walked both batters. That meant Darren O'Day, a groundball specialist, was headed into the game to face Alex Rodriguez in the hopes of inducing a double play.

Good idea. Bad execution.

O'Day's first pitch was a groundball, technically -- a missile that skipped off the ground and ate Michael Young up for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There may have been a midnight snack.

Then, Clay Rapada, who had all of nine innings of experience with the Rangers this season, came on to try to nullify Robinson Cano who had bashed a home run the inning prior. Yet again a good idea, yet again bad execution. Another hit, and New York was still on the merry-go-round and a 5-1 Rangers lead had evaporated into a tie.

At that point, Washington was faced with three choices. One, he could bring in closer Neftali Feliz, who could at least keep the game tied. Two, Alexi Ogando, a right-hander who has been excellent in relief, could come on to face what would have been pinch-hitter Lance Berkman. Three, Washington could keep Rapada in the game or bring in Derek Holland to face Marcus Thames.

This is where Washington's choices fell apart.

Marcus Thames is a lefty killer and has been so his entire career. He has a career .264/.333/.505 line against lefties in 750 career at-bats. He was specifically brought to New York to act as a platoon player and face lefties.

Meanwhile, Berkman has struggled through a poor season and only snapped out of a funk. However, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out, Berkman is hitting .356 against right-handed pitching since Sept. 1, and that was the statistic Washington keyed in on and made him choose the Holland/Thames matchup.

"We really had to pick who we wanted to face," Washington said. "We got the matchup we wanted. They just beat us."

There is some doubt as to whether the matchup they got was what they wanted, as there's certainly plenty of reasons that Ogando or Feliz would have been able to neutralize Berkman. Simply looking at the ERAs and xFIPs of each pitcher shows that Holland was the worse of the three pitchers to head to the mound, and Holland did so against someone whose job is to hit left-handed pitching.

Feliz ended up never entering the game, and Washington says it's because the rookie has "never" been asked to get six outs in a game.

"He's never done anything like that," Washington told the Morning News . "I wouldn't do that. I had the people I wanted in the game. They didn't get it done. It happens."

"Never" is a strong word. It means Feliz has never gotten six outs in a game before.

So what happened April 21 and August 10 against the Red Sox and August 13 against these very Yankees? How about 2009, when Feliz joined the team in mid-August as a reliever? He got eight outs once, seven once, six outs six times (of course), five outs twice and four outs four times.

Yes, that was 2009. But he's done it in 2010 as well, against two of the more potent hitting teams, one of which was the opponent Friday night.

Feliz should have entered the game to face Lance Berkman at the latest, holding back Ogando and Holland for extra innings if needed. Given Holland was a starter, he would have been able to go multiple innings if needed. One could argue Feliz should have entered to face Alex Rodriguez.

Instead, he never did. And now Texas is down one game in the ALCS.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 15, 2010 11:49 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:10 am
 

Rangers add two left-handed relievers to roster

The Rangers have made two changes to the roster for the ALCS. Being bumped is infielder Esteban German along with right-handed reliever Dustin Nippert as MLB.com relays.

Michael Kirkman In place of German and Nippert, lefties Michael Kirkman (photo right) and Clay Rapada have joined the squad. The move to bring in more lefty relief isn't surprising, as the Yankees have countless lefties and/or switch-hitters up and down the lineup that bringing in a lefty would help neutralize.

German isn't needed as the last man off the bench and only collected 16 plate appearances for the Ranger on the year. He received a spot ahead of Andres Blanco and Joaquin Arias.

Also bounced from the roster is Nippert. Used primarily in relief but with the ability to go long or make a spot start, the 29-year-old posted a 4.29 ERA in 56 2/3 innings. He has some control problems, but was still a strong part of the bullpen. However, given the three-deep setup corps of Darren O'Day, Darren Oliver, and Alex Ogando, Texas could afford to bounce Nippert in favor of a left-hander.

Both Kirkman and Rapada don't have a lot of major-league time, which just goes to show you how important pitching from the south side against the Yankees can be. Kirkman, 23, pitched 16 1/3 innings for Texas and had a sterling 1.65 ERA although he walked 10, also whiffing 16. He hasn't given up a home run, so that 1.65 ERA is incredibly misleading despite his clear advantage when it comes to racking up strikeouts.

Kirkman is a starter, and pitched in that capacity for Triple-A the entire year. He had a 3.09 ERA in 131 total innings, striking out 130 but tacking on 68 walks. Command may be an issue in October.

Clay Rapada Rapada (photo right) spent his first season with the Rangers in Triple A after being acquired from the Tigers. He did contribute nine innings to Texas, striking out five, but walking seven and giving up four runs. His ERA was 1.82 in the minors over 59 1/3 innings, walking 21 and whiffing 61.

Neither Kirkman or Rapada are ideal choices for a postseason spot. After all, there's a reason the two spent the majority in Triple-A. Given who the Rangers are up against, however, it was the right choice.

-- Evan Brunell

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