Yankees welcome Stanton back to bullpen

By Jim Callis

December 3, 2004

Mike Stanton gave the Yankees six solid seasons of lefty relief, but when he became a free agent following the 2002 season, they gave him an ultimatum and 15 minutes to decide. He wound up signing with the Mets, and the Yankees soon became dissatisfied with southpaw relievers such as Chris Hammond, Felix Heredia and Gabe White. So they returned to the past on Friday and reacquired Stanton in exchange for Heredia. The Mets also kicked in $975,000 to help offset the difference in salaries.

Stanton, 37, was one of two relievers picked up on Friday by the Yankees, who also traded for Felix Rodriguez. Stanton is coming off a career-high 83 appearances in 2004, in which he went 2-6, 3.16 with 25 holds. He had a 58-33 strikeout-walk ratio in 77 innings, with opponents batting .237 with six homers. He goes after hitters with a lively low-90s fastball, a plus slider and a splitter. He’ll make $4 million in 2005, the final year of a three-year, $9 million deal. Stanton has a career 57-50, 3.76 mark with 76 saves and 232 holds in 968 games.

Heredia, 29, pitched so poorly that he worked just 11 innings after the all-star break. Overall, he went 1-1, 6.28 with five holds. His K-BB ratio was just 25-20 in 39 innings, and opponents hit .278 with five homers. The Yankees expected more when they signed him to a two-year, $3.8 million contract prior to the season. He’ll earn $1.85 million in 2005, but needs to regain some velocity on his fastball and effectiveness with his changeup. Heredia has career totals of 28-19, 4.44 with six saves and 78 holds in 508 games.