Early Returns on Some Former Yankees

Delving into the production of ex-Yankees is something of a tradition - both for fans of the team, and for myself in my time with The Yankee Analysts and It's About the Money. We cannot help but wonder what the departed players are doing; not in a creepy ex-significant other sort of way (I hope). Rather, we use it a form of hope. Generally speaking, it is hope that the Yankees made the right move by letting the player walk or, alternatively, sending the guy back. Although, to be fair, sometimes it's fun to play the hindsight game from the other perspective, as well ... I still miss Never Nervous Yangervis. With that in mind, I figured I would look into a dozen players that have headed elsewhere over the last two seasons, focusing on those that had some semblance of a role with the Yankees.

Chris Capuano, Milwaukee Brewers 17.0 IP, 17 H, 13 BB, 17 K, 3.71 ERA, 6.42 FIP, -0.3 fWAR

Capuano was something of a punching bag last year - both on the field, and among fans (particularly here). He has been less awful this year, based solely on run prevention, but his peripherals suggest that he's a strong breeze away from being just as bad in 2016. He's a serviceable mop-up pitcher (a role that most any pitcher in Triple-A or the Majors could fill) ... so ... there's that.

Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates .296/.408/.347, 11 R, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB, 114 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR (120 PA)

Cervelli has been the second-best catcher in baseball since the beginning of 2016 by both wRC+ and fWAR (behind only Buster Posey in both categories). He showed flashes of this when he was with the Yankees (he hit .278/.348/.381 in pinstripes, after all), but he never put it all together. The most important aspect of his rise may be the simple fact that he has been able to stay healthy since heading to Pittsburgh.

Stephen Drew, Washington Nationals .143/.167/.257, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 9 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR (36 PA)

We were angry last season when Drew blocked Rob Refsnyder. Imagine the vitriol that he is facing in Nationals fans circles, as he (and the similarly inept Danny Espinosa) block Trea Turner - a legitimate top-20 prospect.

Ramon Flores, Milwaukee Brewers .188/.288/.219, 5 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB, 39 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR (73 PA)

Flores may have never earned a real shot in pinstripes, much to the chagrin of our very own Brad Vietrogoski, but he's still just 23. The rebuilding Brewers are allowing him to play in some capacity nearly every day, so it bears watching to see if he can earn his keep.

Garrett Jones, Yomiuri Giants (NPB) .217/.329/.400, 12 R, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB (140 PA)

Jones seemed poised to contribute as a back-up option at 1B, LF, RF, and DH last season, but the opportunity never really came to pass. Perhaps the Yankees saw something, though, as Jones didn't earn another shot in the Majors after the team initially cut him loose. His base salary this year is $2.8 MM, so I'm guessing that he's not complaining.

John Ryan Murphy, Minnesota Twins .075/.119/.100, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB, -52 wRC+, -0.5 fWAR (44 PA)

As Aaron Hicks shows flashes of turning it around, Murphy finds himself in Triple-A trying to figure things out (he's batting .111/.182/.111 in three games since the demotion). He's a few days shy of his 25th birthday, and he was quite good in 2014 and 2015, so this feels like a prolonged slump. I still think that he can be a solid-average big league catcher.

David Robertson, Chicago White Sox 14.2 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 17 K, 1.23 ERA, 1.98 FIP, 0.5 fWAR

By bWAR, 2015 was Robertson's worst full season. His 3.41 ERA and 115 ERA+ were his highest since 2010, even as he posted career-best marks in BB/9 and K/BB, without becoming much more hittable. Sometimes that's just the way it goes. Robertson was still very effective, though, and he's been quite good thus far in 2016. Fun fact: he's tied for 3rd among all relievers in fWAR since coming up for good in 2009.

Brendan Ryan, Syracuse Chiefs (Triple-A) .263/.305/.382, 7 R, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB, 99 wRC+ (83 PA)

If Ryan could hit like this in the Majors, he might be an everyday player, even with his defense regressing to the slightly above-average range. Unfortunately, he can't.

Yangervis Solarte, San Diego Padres .375/.474/.563, 0 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 182 wRC+, 0.2 fWAR (19 PA)

Solarte missed time with a strained hamstring, yet he has managed to hit 3 doubles in 2016. As of this writing, Chase Headley has 0 in 94 PA. And, because I'm a glutton for punishment, here are their numbers since the trade:

Solarte - .271/.328/.410, 109 OPS+, 2.9 bWAR Headley - .251/.329/.356, 92 OPS+, 2.8 bWAR

Adam Warren, Chicago Cubs 13.1 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 12 K, 1.35 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 0.1 fWAR

Warren slid right into a middle relief role with the Cubs, entering the game in the 6th or 7th inning in seven of his eleven appearances. He's thrown more than 1 IP four times, which I'm happy to see, and he has been all but unhittable. His BB/9 is a bit unsightly, but two of his seven walks were intentional.

Justin Wilson, Detroit Tigers 13.0 IP, 14 H, 2 BB, 15 K, 3.46 ERA, 2.22 FIP, 0.3 fWAR

Even in a one-plus month sample size, it's strange to see Wilson pitching like a control artist. The Tigers have continued to use him against both LHB and RHB, and the results are still good. If Wilson's newfound control is legitimate (which is may be - he only walked 6 batters from July on last year), I think he could be utilized as a closer.

Chris Young, Boston Red Sox .176/.263/.324, 3 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 58 wRC+, 0.0 fWAR (38 PA)

There's something special about seeing Young go to Boston and revert to the form that led to the Mets cutting ties in 2014. And it also makes Hicks' struggles thus far a bit more palatable (particularly as his playing time has not been nearly as regular).