In discussing the recent news of Andy Pettitte’s return most bloggers, sportswriters and pundits have fallen back on familiar baseball cliches when addressing which one of the various members of the Yankee rotation will be most affected. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “These things usually take care of themselves” fifty times since Thursday and you’ve read “its a good problem to have” another fifty. Sports cliches become such for a reason. In many instances they prove to be the way things work out, so veteran observers lean on them heavily. While those answers are right more often than not, they also frankly aren’t all that interesting. Its a form of punting away the truly difficult scenarios without having to address them. In case of injury, the decision is made for you, so you’re really not making a decision at all. That also applies in cases where someone isn’t performing. The most intriguing question becomes what happens if everything goes well. Then what?
For purposes of this discussion I’m going to assume that everyone is pitching up to their capabilities. Phil Hughes is every bit the starter he was in the first half of 2010. Michael Pineda is dazzling opposing batters with his newly acquired change up. Ivan Nova is rolling along with his winning ways with the Yankees. Hiroki Kuroda has had no issues transitioning from the NL West to the AL East. Even Freddy Garcia, who doesn’t figure to start the season in the Yankee rotation, has been stellar working out of the pen. It’s May 15th. Andy’s ready, showing no signs of rust after a one year layoff. Now we get to the hard part, where the Yankee brass has a decision to make. You have 7 starters for 5 spots. There are no openings in your bullpen, and most of these pitchers don’t fit there anyway for varying reasons. Andy has far too impressive a Yankee pedigree not to get a rotation spot. Something has to give.
With everyone performing well, your first choice as a GM will be to explore who has minor league options left. You do this to retain all of your assets under team control in case of future injury. Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda all are reported to be able to be sent down to AAA without having to pass through waivers. Of those three, the easiest to send down would be Pineda. Yes, he was just traded in a big deal for a big time prospect, but the fact of the matter remains he has the least amount of MLB experience. It’s far tougher to send down Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova, having performed in this town for the past 5 and 2 seasons, respectively. Nova has simply been too solid a member of the Yankee staff to be sent down again, and he proved the Yanks wrong the last time he was unjustly sent to AAA. You don’t send Phil Hughes to either the bullpen or the minors this year for a reason I’ll get to later. Pineda’s the odd man out in a numbers game on the 2012 Yankees.
The next option will be to explore the trade market. The Yanks currently don’t appear to have any open spots on their roster but that could change by mid May. If Raul Ibanez continues his spring slump and looks done, you may be in the market for a lefty batting DH/backup OF. If Clay Rapada/Cesar Cabral aren’t getting lefties out, you could explore the market for a LOOGY. Expect the Yanks to get a good look at both Ibanez and their 2nd bullpen lefty early in the season, playing them in games at times when there may be better options available. They’ll be doing that with an eye on making a decision in mid-May. The primary trade candidate would be Freddy Garcia, who was signed back in late November before Pineda or Kuroda were acquired. A team that desperately needs a starter (the Indians and Royals come to mind) could be matches.
But depending on the return and the amount of team control left on the player(s) you’re trading for, another player you have to listen to offers on is Phil Hughes. He’s still very young (25) should be entering his prime years as a pitcher and doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2013 season. He’s still relatively cheap (3.2M) though he figures to get a nice bump for his 3rd year of arb next season. I’ve written in the past that I don’t think his batted ball profile and Yankee Stadium are a match. I would look at a fast start to the 2012 season from Phil as an opportunity to sell high, knowing in the back of my mind that he could flourish elsewhere like another Yankee prospect who was recently traded. But after 5 seasons of an up and down career with the Yankees, one where he’s still battling for a rotation spot each spring, I’m ready to part ways. He’s always suffered a huge Home/Road split, so I just don’t think Hughes was ever going to fulfill his super-prospect status with the Yankees. A young, useful bat with some positional flexibility would be a nice return for the Phranchise, and could provide insurance for some of the aging parts of this roster. Though I’m aware this could be a decision might come back to bite the Yanks in 2013. If Andy retires, Kudoda leaves and Banuelos/Betances aren’t ready, then the Yanks could find themselves short in the rotation come next spring.
But to use another tired sports cliche, we’ll ‘cross that bridge when we come to it’
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees