Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Brian Bruney: Bearded Optimist

Few tears were shed among Yankee fans when Brian Bruney was flipped to the Nationals in December in exchange for the first pick in the Rule 5 draft, which eventually became Jamie Hoffman. It seems that the feeling is mutual. Despite being traded to a team that has lost 100 games two years in a row, Bruney told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he's happy to be a National (via MLBTR):
MLB.com: What was your reaction when you found out that you were traded to the Nationals?

Brian Bruney: I feel good being a National. I think there is a better opportunity for me there. I'm going to enjoy helping a team that hasn't been a winning franchise. We are going to be the 25 guys that make it a winning franchise.
MLB.com: It sounds like you are excited to be a member of the Nationals. Why?

Bruney: It's a new journey. It's a new challenge. You have to continue to challenge yourself. It seems it's going to be a lot of fun. When you expect to win every night like we did in New York, I don't know if the winning is as fun as when nobody expects you to win. You are the underdogs every night and you prove people wrong. I think that is a lot more fun. That's the part I'm looking forward to --- being on a team where nobody expects us to do anything. Hopefully we'll put some wins together, get on a roll and play good baseball for six months. We'll see where it goes.
To be fair, Bruney's bit about the expectations of winning as it relates to being on the Yankees sounds pretty similar to something I wrote after the Vasquez trade, but let's see how much fun winning is when you only do it 60 or 70 times a year.
Bruney: I can finally grow some facial hair after four years. That's great. That was one of the first things I thought about. When I was traded, I said, "Wow, finally, I can grow a beard."
"Yeah, fuck winning World Series, I'm gonna grow a beard!" We kid Bruney because we love him. Actually, we don't. But the man is a renegade, and the fact that he is going to a terrible team is probably better for his career.

Later on in the interview he makes it clear that he wants to compete for the closer job with newly-acquired free agent Matt Capps. He clearly wouldn't never have been given the opportunity on the Yankees and if he can finagle his way into a set-up or closing job for the Nationals, it will help with his arbitration value and his price on the free agent market when he eventually gets there. He's shown some flashes of brilliance throughout his career, so maybe he could actually win the closer's role over Capps. And as Fernando Rodney proved last season, you don't need to be a good pitcher to save games.


  1. Bruney don't give up the gopher ball so much and maybe it works out in front of 15,000 people in August! We will be Ok here ,,,

  2. Bruney is a perfect fit for the Nats. Hell, he's perfect fit for the Nat's closer role.

  3. I didn't take his comments to be much against New York. It just plays to a different angle of competition. Few people doubt how difficult it is to play in NY because of the constant barage of media and the pressure to win every game. I feel like Bruney played a predominantly positive role for the Yankees this year and now he wants a new challenge. As excited as we are to have the yankees on top...its not much of a surprise that they are. Now, if the Nationals were to make a Colorado-like run a few years back... THAT would be more exciting for their fans since they are considered much farther away from winning than our perennial Bombers. And of course, I'd expect Bruney's Yankee experiences and such to play a significant part of that winning mindset for them. I hope he has a good year for the Nats.

    I'm not shedding tears that he's not playing in pinstripes anymore though. But Iwould have been okay with him still in our bullpen. I consider him a solid reliever.