In a move, possibly only explained as "irrelevant” and "for organizational depth," the New York Yankees have brought back relief pitcher and arm-abuse victim Scott Proctor. For those of you familiar with the Joe Torre-era Yankees, Proctor has become something of a joke, or even a cautionary tale of what happens when you're on Torre's "good side.”
Proctor, who was formerly with the Yankees from 2004 to 2006, has also spent time with the Dodgers and the Braves under the Tutelage of not only the bullpen-mangling Torre - who followed poor Proctor out to L.A. to finish what he'd started in New York, but the similarly reliever ravaging Fredi Gonzalez, along with Bobby Cox in the middle.
After two decidedly underwhelming seasons from 2004-05, Proctor found himself in a rather unfortunate situation. Joe Torre had run out of his trademark Trusted Arms. Tom Gordon -- who had racked up 170 relief innings in the previous two seasons — escaped to Philadelphia, where he served as the closer, appearing in only 59 games. Paul Quantrill was finished after putting up an ERA north of 6.50. Joe Torre hated Tanyon Sturtze, and everybody hated Kyle Farnsworth.
The last righty standing was poor, unfortunate, all-but-marked-for-death Scott Proctor. To his (and Torre's) credit, he performed admirably. He appeared in 83 games, posted a 3.52 ERA, and was worth a very good 2.1 WAR out of a non-closing bullpen role. He was very, very valuable.
He also threw 102 innings. Scott Proctor hadn't thrown that many innings since he was a starter for the Dodgers' AA affiliate in 2002. Scott Proctor had just been Torre'd.
For those keen to the issues that arise from such abuse, Scott Proctor had already been marked as a dead man. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman had to protect his relievers from abuse, telling his pitchers to "level" with Joe Torre about their readiness. Nevertheless, it seemed to hold no credence with the Yankee manager. By the time the trade deadline rolled around, Scott Proctor had appeared in more than half the games the Yankees had played. Proctor's peripherals were a mess, to put it nicely. His Hits, Walks and Home Runs per nine innings were all rising. His K/9 had dipped to nearly six, which was unacceptable for a reliever without perfect control. His WHIP ballooned to more than 1.5.
Brian Cashman, being the respectably intelligent GM that he is, saw these negative indicators and decided to deal him for someone who could serve the Yankees off of the bench, that being the former top-prospect Wilson Betemit. On July 31 2007, Scott Proctor was set free.
He was more effective in the pitcher-friendly confines of Dodger Stadium, lowering his ERA to 3.38, and his WHIP to nearly 1.2.
Of course, the following year Joe Torre followed poor, unfortunate, heavily used Scott Proctor west, and his shoulder just called it quits after that.
One has to wonder if he sees the ugly maw of Joe Torre in his nightmares, or if his shoulder tightens up every time a telephone rings. Pinstripes probably give him cold sweats.
If it's any consolation to you, Scott, you probably won't see the light of day until the stretch run, where you'll be mercifully buried behind the Yankees many reliable relief options.