As it stands right now, the Yankees will go into opening day with the following rotation: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez. Not bad for the first four. But the number five spot remains open.
The Yankees have choices. They can go with Joba, they can go with Hughes, or they could slip in Serigo Mitre, who just yesterday signed a one-year $850,000 deal, according to the Associated Press.
If you have read anything I have written, you will notice a hatred of mine for the idea of putting Joba in the rotation. Hughes is a better starter and Joba is a far better reliever. So it seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Just put Hughes in the rotation and Joba in the bullpen. It would work as both a long term and shor term solution. But, the ridiculous Yankee coaching staff philosophy has me backed in a corner.
First off, let’s just remove Mitre, who most certainly does not deserve a spot over Hughes or Joba.
Who should be the fifth starter for the Yankees?(polling)
But back to the issue. Just as the Yankees had a “Joba Rule” thing in effect, you can bet your dollar they would have some “Hughes Rules” as well. Which makes me very skeptical. There is no doubt that you can attribute Chamberlains atrocious starting pitching to the fact that he was constantly on a pitch count. It made him always think about the pitch count, which took his focus away from being aggressive.
In 2010, the wheels would be off for Joba, so maybe he would be a better starter. I’m afraid that the same thing that happened to Joba will happen to Hughes, should they put him in the rotation.
But either way, you go with the better option. Like I said, Hughes is a better starter, and Chamberlain is a better reliever. Long term, Hughes can be the next Pettitte, and Chamberlain can be the next Rivera (maybe a bit worse.) You might as well set up for that now, rather than screwing stuff up. ⧫
Best Moment: 2001 WS vs Diamondbacks: Derek Jeter becomes “Mr. November”
Derek Jeter earned his pinstripes by walking off against the Diamondbacks in the 2001 world series with a home run over the right field wall. Still one of the most iconic scenes in Yankee history.
Honorable mention: Aaron Boone walk-off home run in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS vs Boston.
Worst Moment: 2004 ALCS vs Red Sox: Damon’s Grand Slam
Honorable mention: Rivera throws potential double play ball into center field in the bottom of the ninth in game 7 of the 2001 WS.
Honorable mention: 8/7/09: A-Rod walk-off home run in scoreless, 15 inning affair vs Red Sox.
Worst Game: 2001 WS vs Diamondbacks: Luis Gonzalez blooper
A story book series and a near comeback win for the Yankees was gone with the wind after Luis Gonzalez blooped a walk off single over the drawn in infield. Had the infield played back, the Yankees would have 28 world championships.
Honorable mention: 4/25/09: Yankees blow huge lead vs Red Sox.
Biggest Bust: Carl Pavano comes to the Yankees, but doesn’t pitch
Honorable mention: Chein-Ming Wang collapses in 2009 season.
Best play: 2001 ALDS vs A’s: The Jeter “flip play”
Honorable mention: 7/1/04: Jeter dives into the stands.
Team of the decade:
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Alfonso Soriano
3B: Alex Rodriguez
SS: Derek Jeter
LF: Johnny Damon
CF: Bernie Williams
RF: Paul O’Neil
C: Jorge Posada
SP: Andy Pettitte
RP: Mariano Rivera
Manager: Joe Torre
Yankees leaders of the decade:
Most Games: Derek Jeter (1500)
Most Home Runs: Alex Rodriguez (238)
Most Hits: Derek Jeter (1940)
Most Walks: Jorge Posada (707)
Most Wins: Mike Mussina (123)
Most Saves: Mariano Rivera (397)
Most Strikeouts: Mike Mussina (1278)
Most Pitches: Mike Mussina (24120)
Bottom line: With Bruney and Coke gone and left field taken care of, the Yankees need pitching, and lots of it. With the bullpen thin, Chamberlain and Hughes need to stay there. So, as the rotation stands right now, there are only three guys there. Cashman has hinted that Lackey is too high of a price, so lets take a look at a smaller investment: Kelvim Escobar.
- He will come pretty cheap.
- He has a 4.15 ERA in 12 seasons.
- He has pitched in Anaheim, so he is used to big games.
- He has postseason experience.
- He is pretty young at age 33.
- He has started over 200 games in his career.
- He isn’t a type A or B, so the Yankees won’t lose any draft picks.
- There are better options on the free agent market.
- He was injured last year and had very limited playing time.
- He walked 7.2 batters per nine innings last season.
Chat or Chuck?
Chat. With three accomplished and reliable starters in Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte, a big game ace pitcher, such as Lackey, is just unnecesary. Escobar can be a reliable end of the rotation pitcher. Like I said, the Yankees need pitching. Every option is important, and Escobar is a very good option.
It was pretty obvious that the Yankees were going to bring back the veteran lefty, Andy Pettitte, especially after the season he had. But, I don’t think many thought that it would be for the amount that it was. Good or bad? Lets see:
- Although he is in his late 30’s, Pettitte has proved that age is no problem.
- He said that his shoulder has felt fine all year. Thats the only thing you worry about with Pettitte.
- He powered the Yankees to a championship, winning the clinching game of each series.
- With this thin Yankee pitching staff, the Yankees need to take everything they can.
- It cost the Yankees $11.75 million.
Smart or Smack?:
Smart. Yes, $11.75 mill is a lot. I don’t want to sound spoiled and say so what, but so what? The Yankees are rich out of their minds. The real important thing here is that the Yankees need pitching, and still need pitching even with Pettitte. It was pretty obvious this would happen. I hope this large numbered deal doesn’t pull the Yankees out of the race for a Holliday or a Bay, but when it comes to predictions, don’t even bother with the Yankees.
Interesting question, Jeff. With all the free agent talks and trade talks that the Yankees are always involved in, very seldom do we get to step back and speak about the legends. Your right, Jeter is a given. But who else?
When a first saw this question, I thought about the core four. Jeter, Rivera, Posada and Pettitte. Jeter’s in. Rivera — who’s number is already retired for Jackie Robinson — is in as well. As for Posada, I don’t think he has a real Yankee legacy like Rivera and Jeter. Pettitte, though, with all of those domianant years, does deserve it. Although I doubt that will happen.
Who else? Well, you have to think about the Yankees that will be around forever, guys who the Yankees would never let go. To me, those are Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Robinson Cano. Of those, I think Cano will do it. He is an MVP type player, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will win multiple batting titles. Hughes and Chamberlain are iffy.
Then A-Rod. I say no. To me, it won’t be the controversy that will keep A-Rod’s number out, it will be the fact that his greatness had already been defined when he came to the Yankees. For that reason, the number 13 on pinstripes isn’t so iconic. Free agents that come to the Yankees don’t leave behind the legacy that the lifetimes do, like a Jeter or a Pettitte. But it’s still possible. Think of other free agents that came to the Yankees. Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth both didn’t start with the Yankees and both had their numbers retired. But, then again, A-Rods no Babe. Jeffery Lung is a writer for Red State Blue State
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It’s always though to talk about these kinds of players. The kinds of players who have been there the entire way. The players that have shown you undivided devotion and have given nothing but success. Andy Pettitte falls into that category. The Yankees will probably bring him back. But be careful, you don’t want to bring him back for the wrong reason.
12/5/09: NY Post reports that Andy Pettitte is at the top of the Yankees to-do-list this off season.
Age/Type FA: 37/B
2009 season: 14-8 4.16 ERA 194.2 IP 148 SO 1.382 WHIP
Career (15 seasons): 229-135 3.91 ERA 2926.1 IP 2150 SO 1.361 WHIP
- He had a great season, going 14-6 with a 4.16 ERA.
- His shoulder proved to no longer be a problem.
- He powered the Yankees through the playoffs, winning every clinching game.
- He is a smart pitcher that doesn’t rely on power, which has gone away with age.
- He’s only 37, which, this day in age isn’t that old for a pitcher.
- He’ll be pretty cheap, so if it doesn’t work out, it’s no big deal.
- The Yankees would probably be better off developing some younger pitching.
- It might be nice to go out as a championship winner.
Chat or Chuck?:
Come on, Chat! There’s only two chucks! Andy Pettitte is a great, great pitcher. This year, he proved that age will not be the demon of his career. The only thing you have ever had to worry about with Pettitte is his shoulder, which felt better this year (he says). If his shoulder felt good at 37, it will feel good at 38. Andy, lets take that mound for just one more season, and then you can walk like a true hero.
The Yankees have declined to offer arbitration to free agents Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Andy Pettitte. The Yankees also didn’t offer arbitration to Jerry Hairston Jr., Eric Hinske, Jose Molina and Xavier Nady.
If the Yankees had excepted arbitration on any of the players, they would have been considered signed with an amount to be determined in the arbitration process. The Yankees can still negotiate with any of these players.
Was this a good choice of a bad choice? Lets take a look.
- All of these players would have gotten raises in the arbitration process.
- The Yankees don’t need Matsui anyway.
- The Yankees don’t get draft picks if any of these players sign anywhere else.
Was this a good or bad choice? It was a great choice. Why was it a good choice? Lets analyze that for each player.
Damon: The Yankees are likely to resign him. He had such a good year that he would have gotten a raise that his age doesn’t merit. He wants to play for the Yankees, so the Yankees can get him cheaper.
Pettitte: As I said, the only negative is that if they sign anywhere else, the Yankees won’t get compensation. As for Pettitte, that doesn’t matter, because in the twilight of his career, I don’t see him turning his back on the Yankees, especially after winning a championship.
Matsui: This one is interesting. Of the three, he has the best chance of signing with another team. But for two reasons, it wouldn’t make sense to offer him arbitration. (a) the Yankees still don’t need him and (b) he would have made a killing in arbitration. The Yankees can get him cheap if they want him because he really wants to play for the Yankees. So, theres no sense in bringing him to arbitration where he could make probably triple what he deserves.