It has been a whirlwind year for left-handed pitcher Aaron Laffey.
Aaron Laffey with Buffalo
He went to spring training in Arizona with the Cleveland Indians, the only team he had ever known. He was a 16th round draft pick of the Indians in 2003. From 2007-2010, Laffey bounced around from the minors to the majors with the Indians. His best minor league season came in 2007 when Baseball America named him a Triple-A all-star with Buffalo (9-3 with a 3.08 ERA). Overall he went 13-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) in the minors in 2007.
In the beginning of March, Laffey was traded to the Seattle Mariners for a minor leaguer so the Indians could make room for right-handed reliever Chad Durbin. It seemed like a good move because the Mariners were looking for a lefty in both the rotation and the bullpen. Laffey made the Mariners out of spring training as a lefty reliever.
He pitched very well over the first month, as he allowed just three runs in ten games (15 innings). He was still pitching well in May, as he allowed three runs (two earned) over eight games (10.1 innings). He only pitched in seven games (7.1 innings) in June, but allowed just two runs.
Then July happened. He pitched in eight games, three of which he gave up three runs in each. One however was in a three inning relief stint. In the other two, he allowed six runs on eight hits in just 1.2 innings. The struggles continued into August and after his outing on August 16th against Toronto (1.2 IP, 4H, 3R), the Mariners designated him for assignment to make room for Chance Ruffin (who was included in the Doug Fister/David Pauley deal from the Detroit Tigers).
The NY Yankees immediately claimed him and he made his first appearance with the Yankees on August 20th against the Minnesota Twins. In a three inning relief appearance, he allowed two runs on five hits. Laffey was then designated for assignment by the Yankees and placed on optional waivers (he wasn’t claimed). Thus he was optioned to Triple-A Scranton. There he made two appearances (one start), but allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks over just 3.2 innings. He was however recalled by the Yankees when rosters expanded in September.
In ten games after his September promotion, he allowed two runs on eight hits over 7.2 innings. He did however hit two batters and walk three. Laffey was left off the Yankees playoff roster and was again designated for assignment.
This time, the KC Royals claimed him and the Royals have designated right-hander Jess Chavez for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Laffey. Laffey gives the Royals more of a veteran presence in the bullpen and he should push lefties Tim Collins and Everett Teaford in spring training.
Hopefully Laffey can settle in with the Royals as he is back in the American League Central. After his whirlwind 2011 with now four Major League teams, things have to be calming down for him right?
*In other news, there are rumors that stud top pick Bubba Starling will be shut down until spring training. He has been sidelined with a minor quad injury after just about a week in instructional league. The team is being overly cautious, but it can’t be something the organization is thrilled about. First an underage drinking citation and now a quick injury. Starling’s Royals career is not starting out with a positive light.
**Reliever Robinson Tejeda has become a free agent. He was the primary setup man for closer Joakim Soria when the season began, but struggled to regain his velocity and consistency. He was designated for assignment in the middle of May and spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Omaha.