I don’t like Sergio Mitre. Anyone who’s read my work for a long time knows that I can’t stand the guy. He gets ground balls, but that’s basically the only plus. He gives up too many homers and he doesn’t strike people out. Every time he gives up a hit, I feel like it’s a rocket. Obviously, that’s confirmation bias to the extreme, but I’ll make an exception for Mitre (jeez, I’m really busting on this guy, huh? Maybe I should stop.).
I’m rather ambivalent when it comes to Bartolo Colon. It’s a minor league deal for a guy who’s been hurt, but has had a good deal of success in the Majors. There will be a slew of fat jokes when he pitches. Freddy Garcia is probably the “best” of the bunch, though that’s obviously a relative term. Ivan Nova is also up for a spot in the rotation and in a vacuum, I may feel like giving the job to him. But, baseball doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Ivan Nova should not be in the rotation on Opening Day and he shouldn’t be in the bullpen either.
This isn’t necessarily and indictment of Mr. Nova. I’m not his biggest fan in terms of prospect-ness, but I understand that he has the potential to be, at the very least, a useful piece for the Yankees. I won’t hesitate to say for one second that I think he’ll pitch a pretty significant amount of innings for the Yankees in 2011. However, I don’t think he should break camp with the team.
A rather big part of me thinks that Nova can–and may–out perform the other three pitchers mentioned in this piece. Nova has, for what this is worth, the best looking projections out of bunch. Like most other things, though, this is a matter of deployment of resources and logistics.
The possibility of the three-headed Garlonitre monster flopping is pretty big. But at the same time, there’s a just-big-enough chance that they could be useful in their roles. If that big chance of floppage and the small chance of success exists, why do I want Nova away from the team to start? Because the Yankees should burn their bridges with the veterans before turning to Nova. Ivan has options (but does he make basket?) and could use some extra polishing in Scranton before joining the team. That’s pretty much the only reason why I want the Yankees to break camp with Freddy Garcia as the fourth starter and the “winner” of the Bartolo Colon vs. Sergio Mitre battle as the fifth starter, with the loser as the long reliever. That way, when one (or more) of them starts to be ineffective or gets hurt, Nova can be called upon to take his place. If the Yankees break camp without Garcia or Colon (unlikely) and lose one (or both) of them and Nova has a poor start or gets hurt, then where can they go? There are options in guys like Hector Noesi and David Phelps, but they need more time in AAA before they can be counted on for any sort of productive innings. My half-hearted desire to see all three of Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Sergio Mitre on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster represents a bit of a lay up. It’s the safer bet.
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