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Leiter in Pinstripes

New York Post (registration required): "Barring a last minute snag, Al Leiter will start for the Yankees tomorrow night against the Red Sox at Fenway Park."

Word on the street is that Al Leiter will finally become a member of the New York Yankees now that he has been designated for assignment by the Florida Marlins. Is it just me, or are more players being designated for assignment than in recent years? Let's take a look at Leiter and the Yankees starting pitching numbers to see how this fits, if at all:

The graph wouldn't center, and I do not know why.

The Yankees have three serviceable starters in Mussina, Johnson, and Wang, but the problem is that Wang might now be out for the season. Al Leiter is obviously not the answer, since he is the worst beaten up on the entire list at the moment. Let's check out their peripherals to see what caused this VORP:

Let's review: In a park that heavily favors pitchers, Al Leiter has given up over one homerun per nine innings pitched, he gives up almost 10 hits over that same span of time, he walks almost 7 men per 9 innings, he strikes out less hitters than he walks, and the Yankees want to put him in more of a friendly hitter park with a much worse defense in behind him.

NYY Defensive Efficiency: .676
FLA Defensive Efficiency: .687

Granted, .687 is not the best (23rd overall actually) but .676 is worse and not likely to get much better. Womack was doing alright enough in the outfield defensively, and there is a good chance new centerfielder Melky Cabrera is not going to match that, unless he has unheralded instincts in the outfield. Nifty inside the park homerun by Trot Nixon yesterday thanks to Cabrera, eh?

How did Leiter get his one-year, $8 million contract by the way?

I spy a BABIP well below the league average. Leiter actually led the league in lowest BABIP in 2004 if I remember correctly. His lucky streak of allowing fewer hits on balls in play than your average bear netted him his large contract.

New York probably should not bother taking a flyer on Al Leiter. Why not bring up someone from Columbus like Alex Graman to see if he will do the job for essentially peanuts in the grand Bronx scheme of things?

Alex Graman AAA Columbus
ERA: 3.28
RA: 3.86
IP: 93.3
K/BB: 95/35 (2.71)
K/9: 9.16
BB/9: 3.38
H/9: 8.78
HR/9: 1.16
BABIP: .328

Granted he was beaten horribly in 3 separate outings for the Bombers in 2004, but that is most likely what is going to happen to Leiter. Why not give him a shot first? It is not like anyone else is in a huge rush to take Leiter away. Give him one or two starts to see what if he can get over the jitters that must have been plaguing him last year, and wait for no one to claim Leiter, wait for him to become a free agent, and for you to pay him very little for his services. It couldn't hurt, and it most definitely could help.