Nationals Acquire Bruney

Yankees trade RP Brian Bruney to Nationals for a player to be named later; Nationals release RP Saul Rivera

And the first real trade of the Winter Meetings is … a middle reliever for the Yankees being moved to Washington for a player to be named later. Aw, excitement.

Bruney is coming off his third consecutive season with at least 30 appearances although his ERA is a tad bit deceptive as to his true value. Two of the past three seasons his FIP has finished over 5 and in 221 career innings his FIP is just shy of 4.7. He throws hard and misses bats, but he also has issues with walks. Discount his extremely high HR/FB% as beginner’s luck in the new Yankee Stadium and look at his xFIP instead, but you’ll still find that he pitched quite poorly.

Far more interestingly is the choice to release Rivera considering there’s an argument to be made that he’s a better pitcher. Much like Bruney, he struggled with homers last season, but prior to that 19.4% HR/FB outburst, his previous career high was 6% in 2006. Rivera’s fastball won’t induce saliva from the men equipped with radar guns, but his ability to pound the zone and induce groundballs is quite nifty. Again, ignore the home run rates for a moment and look at Rivera’s xFIP the past three seasons: 4.54, 4.10, and 4.41. Look, he’s not Mariano Rivera, but that and his groundball capabilities make for nice depth in the worst case.

Of course, the swap-off will be largely irrelevant in about two weeks time since we’re talking about sixth or seventh inning options for the Nationals.

In other reliever-related news:

Red Sox sign Scott Atchison to a one-year deal with two club options

In nearly 70 career innings Atchison has looked good. No reason to read too much into those numbers, but this is a depth move more than anything. Harry Pavlidis has a more in-depth look.

Pirates sign Vinnie Chulk to a minor league deal

Does anyone remember his fantastic 2007 season still? Apparently so, despite his whiff rates creeping the wrong way in each subsequent season.

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19 Responses to “Nationals Acquire Bruney”

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  1. Anton says:

    …third inning options for the Nationals…

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  2. Kevin S. says:

    Enjoy Bruney’s arb years, Natinals!

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  3. Nats might rather pay Bruney ~$2 million than pay Mike MacDougal ~$4 million.

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  4. dan says:

    Yankees actually get the Nats rule 5 pick, which happens to be #1 overall. Good deal for the Yanks I’d say.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Ooh, I like that!

      IMO, Rule 5 is best for relievers – it doesn’t take all that much for a relief pitcher to be ‘ready’ for the majors, either he has it or he doesn’t, and they make the league minimum.

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  5. TJ says:

    I wonder if good GMs like to pick on bad GMs and offer them horrible deals from time to time and hope they take up the offer. This may be the case in this deal.

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  6. Kevin S. says:

    Something else I just remembered – the Yanks are supposedly bringing in Kevin Towers, who had arguably the most repeated success mining the Rule 5 draft.

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  7. Steve says:

    any rule V experts know who the yankees might be targeting? they obviously have someone they want.

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  8. J says:

    IMy best guess would be LHP Chuck Lofgren. They are working on a trade for Granderson where they would reportedly give up both LHP Coke and LHP Dunn, hurting their left handed reliever depth. (The only other lefty is Kronke, who is eligible for rule v as well). Lofgren adds depth in that department. Another name to watch out for is RHP Aneury Rodriguez. Its probably one of those two.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Out of curiosity, where did you hear that Granderson rumor? I knew the Yanks were kicking the tires on him, but hadn’t heard names proposed (besides Detroit’s dream of landing Austin Jackson).

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      • Steve says:

        it’s being reported by Rosenthal. Granderson and AZ “prospects” to the Yanks, Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy to the D-Backs, Austin Jackson, Coke, Dunn, and Max Scherzer to the Tigers.

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  9. ralf says:

    I don’t follow the Yanks very closely, but it seems weird that they would be so interested in a Rule V pick. When was the last time they picked up someone in Rule V and kept him in the majors all year? For that matter, when was the last time any big-budget playoff contender did? If they need left-handed relief, a guy like Brian Shouse could be had for about as much money as Hal Steinbrenner paid for breakfast this morning.

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    • Steve says:

      they took Josh Phelps in 2007, but he didn’t last the whole year.

      it does seem an unlikely move, but i suppose they have their eye on someone specific and wanted to make sure they got him. on the other hand, if he doesn’t last the entire year on the roster and they get nothing, that’s still roughly equal value for Bruney who was a possible non-tender candidate.

      instead of trading Bruney for a non-prospect or non-tendering, they traded him for a lottery ticket. pretty cool move.

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