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Huntington: We Will Try to Keep Tyler Yates

Thanks for your patience while I was away. I'm done traveling until Thanksgiving. Incidentally, I'm about 95% sure I saw Jay Mariotti, looking sort of dapper in a sport coat and jeans, at a Hudson News in O'Hare today. I didn't say anything to him, just walked by the store a couple times to make sure it was him. Most of the things I think about that guy are things I'd be ashamed to say out loud. I texted a few people and got a bunch of suggestions about things to say. It goes without saying that most of those would be inappropriate to share here, but most people seemed to agree that fake adulation would have been the way to go.

Anyway, when a general manager says that he'd love for a player who's been recently cut to return, it's often wise to just chalk that up to the GM being polite. But in this case, I think Neal Huntington really would love for Tyler Yates to come back. Since there certainly wouldn't be a major league contract involved, I suppose there's no problem with it, but I'd frankly breathe a sigh of relief if Yates were gone forever. He's 32 and has had one major league season (2006) in which he's been any good. He also has big-time control problems and puts way too many batters on base, to the point that back in 2008 I was arguing that the Pirates just shouldn't put him out there at the start of an inning, lest he walk the first two batters.

Yates is also well past the age at which his good fastball should be interpreted as a sign of things to come. He's one of many relievers who Neal Huntington has acquired seemingly purely on the basis of his stuff. It's true that you can't teach velocity, but it's also true that after a certain age, the results have to speak for themselves. If you want to take a 24-year-old Evan Meek on the basis of his stuff in the Rule 5 draft, that's one thing. If you want to trade for a 30-year-old Yates and stick him in high-leverage situations over and over again despite mediocre or poor results, that's another.

This season, John Russell inserted Yates in high-leverage situations well past the point when it was obvious he had nothing. To be fair, Russell didn't have a lot of options. But I don't want him to be given that choice again. The line between Yates and obvious cannon-fodder like Denny Bautista is relatively thin, even when Yates is healthy.