Yankees Looking At Downs
By Mike Axisa [July 24 at 9:07pm CST]
Jeff Blair of The Globe And Mail passes along a note that the Yankees are looking at Blue Jays closer Scott Downs. In today’s massive Roy Halladay thread we learned that the Yanks had scouts in Toronto tonight, and we’ve known that they’re on the look out for arms.
Hmmmm, maybe they’re not just advance scouting Roy Halladay after all. This makes sense for a variety of reasons that I’ll get into in a minute. Adding another arm in the bullpen would free up Alfredo Aceves to start, which is something I suspect they would like to do, or at least have the option to do if one of their starters gets hurt.
Right now, the Yanks have a storm coming in their starting rotation. For the moment they’re fine, but Joba will be hitting his innings limits sometime around September. With Wang likely gone for the year, and Joba due to get dropped from the starting 5 in a little over a month, they would find themselves getting very short in the rotation just as you entered the stretch run of the pennant race and the pending playoffs. If nothing were to change, you’d be looking at Sergio Mitre as their Game 4 starter in the ALCS should they get there.
And that’s without anyone getting hurt. If Andy’s shoulder wears down like it did last year, Sergio Mitre would be your #3 starter down the stretch, and would get a start in the ALDS. That’s unacceptable, so they need to make a move of some kind for a starter, either internally or externally. I suspect they will get a reliever to give them some internal flexibility, and then keep shopping for a starter after the trade deadline when one of the teams that’s still in it (Seattle/Reds) falls out of the race and is ready to make a deal and/or unload some payroll.Someone like Jarrod Washburn or Aaron Harang.
There is however, a third way. You could skip Joba on off days or every third start for the rest of the season, leaving him only 7 more starts for the rest of the year. He’s at 102.2 IP for the season so far, so 7 more starts would put him at around 145 for the season, which would be fine and still leave some room for bullpen work. Or you could give him most of September off, and then just get him ready for the playoffs with a late September tune-up start or two. The latter is the more likely of the two if they go this route. This will give them another high upside arm to use in the playoffs simply by managing his innings. They will want to establish a lead or have a comfortable playoff spot secured before giving one of their starter an extended Sabbatical like that. It will be very hard to skip Joba for a lesser pitcher if the Yanks-Sox-Rays are in a heated pennant race.
The one upside to dropping Joba from the rotation is that he’d be available to be used out of the bullpen. But of course, you have to get to the 8th before you can worry about having a lead to protect. Which is about as succinct a way as there is to explain why Joba is a starting pitcher and has always belonged in the rotation.
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