Goldman: The Lonny Frey salvation

From SABR member Steven Goldman at The National Pastime Museum on July 28, 2016:

In 1989, the year that marked the beginning of the nadir of their post-1915 existence, the Yankees acquired a left-handed pitcher named Greg Cadaret from the Oakland A’s as part of the return for Rickey Henderson. They also received Eric Plunk and Luis Polonia, a paltry take for a future Hall of Famer and the greatest leadoff man of all time.

That was bad enough, but how the Yankees handled Cadaret suggests just how confused the organization was at this point in its history. Cadaret, 27, was 113 games into a Major League career spent entirely as a middle reliever in Tony La Russa’s bullpen. He had had decent success in that role, posting a 3.24 ERA despite walking about five batters per nine innings—in the pennant-winning season of 1988, he held same-side hitters to a .198 average and allowed them no home runs. An 11th-round pick, Cadaret had also failed as a starter in the minors, allowing nearly seven runs per nine innings (5.72 ERA) in 57 starts in 1985 and 1986. It was only when he switched to the pen in 1987 that the A’s were able to bring him to the Major Leagues.

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Originally published: August 2, 2016. Last Updated: August 2, 2016.