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. ⧫
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.
The Yankees started out their 2009 winter meeting by dealing away relief pitcher Brian Bruney. Bruney will be shipped to the Nationals for a player to be named. I don’t think many people saw this coming. Was this smart? Lets take a look:
- The Yankees avoid bringing Bruney to an arbitration hearing.
- He is injury prone — or at least he was last year.
- He had a 0.87 ERA in his first year with the Yankees.
- He was absolutely dominating last year before he got hurt.
- He had a 1.83 ERA in 2008.
- He has lost a lot of weight and is improving.
- The Yankees just flat out need him right now.
- The Yankees can keep him cheaply.
- They are only getting a player to be named. Doesn’t sound like much to me.
Smart or Smack?:
Smack. I’m not quite sure what the Yankees were thinking here. If there was one thing I wouldn’t have messed around with this year it would be the bullpen. When Bruney was in there and healthy, he was a HUGE part of that bullpen. With a short rotation at this point, the Yankees don’t know if they will need Hughes or Chamberlain to start. Now, they can’t start. Now this bullpen is thin. I understand he gets injured a lot, but right now you can’t mess around with this bullpen. Plus, if you have to trade him, at least get a good player for him. This guy had a 0.87 ERA! This isn’t some slack player, Bruney can make a difference. You better hope this “player to be named” is good, or the Yankees got robbed.
It’s the free agents that nobody talks about that can make a big difference. Rafael Soriano is one of them. I had no idea he was even out there until the NY Post reported a couple of days ago that the Yankees were interested in him. For a guy that nobody has talked about, he can make a big difference. Lets take a look:
Age/Type FA: 29/A
Last season: (1-6) 2.97 ERA 27 SV 3.78 SO/BB 1.057 WHIP
Career (8 seasons): (8-18) 2.92 ERA 43 SV 3.51 SO/BB 1.037 WHIP
- He is only 29 years old and will be 30 by the beginning of next season.
- He has had an ERA below three in his last two seasons.
- He had a 12.1 SO/9 ratio last season.
- He can be a solid set-up man for Rivera.
- If you put him in the bullpen, then Hughes can focus more on starting.
- He is a type A that was offered arbitration. That means the only way the Yankees can get him is if he turns it down, in which case they would also lose a first round draft pick.
- He walks a lot of people, with a 3.2 BB/9 ratio last season and a 5.8 ratio the year before.
- I want Chamberlain to be the set-up man.
Chat or Chuck?:
Chat. Soriano was a pretty dominant pitcher with the Braves. You just need to hope that the Yankees can work out some of that walks problem. Other than that, he is pretty dominant. As for the draft pick — which to me is the only problem — the Yankees aren’t going to get much anyway this year, having the last pick. The bottom line is that the Yankees bullpen needs improvements, and Soriano provides that. If he works out, you can also put Hughes where he belongs: As a starter.
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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Blue Jays pitcher, Roy Halladay, would waive his no trade clause for a deal that would send him to the Yankees, writes Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun.
Bob Elliot quotes an unnamed Major League executive who said, “I don’t know when he is going and I don’t know where he’s going. But I
do know that Halladay has told the Jays he’ll approve a trade to the
The former Cy Young winner, and 32 year-old, has a career record of 148-76 with a 3.43 ERA in 12 seasons with the Blue Jays,
and he has one year remaining on a three-year, $40 million deal.
The New York Daily News wrote last week that the Red Sox were putting in a “full-court press” for Doc and intend on doing it before the winter meetings begin on December 7th in Indianapolis.
If the Yankees were to trade for Halladay, it would be in a package that would include many young stars. Among which are starting pitchers Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes as well as top prospect catcher Jesus Montero or outfielder Austin Jackson.
Once again, I hope the Yankees can resist this. No doubt Halladay is a great, great pitcher, but at some point you need to just stop. To me, the value of these prospects and the thrill of watching them grow is way more desireable than watching Doc dominate in pinstripes.
Poll of the Day:
Would you give up Hughes/Chamberlain and Montero/Jackson for Halladay?(poll)
Hes the one we have all heard about. The most prized possession of the 2009-2010 off season. After a shaky ending in his time in St. Louis, Holliday is up in the air and ready to sign a big long term deal.
Age/Type FA: 29/A
Career (6 Seasons): .318 BA .933 OPS 152 HR 1030 H
Best Season (2007): .340 BA 216 H 137 RBI
- He led the league in hits, batting average, RBI’s, and doubles in 2007.
- He will only be 30 years old at the beginning of next season.
- He is consistent, hitting over .300 in his past five seasons.
- The Yankees need an outfielder with the absence of Damon and/or Matsui.
- He wants to play on the east coast.
- He has experience in the postseason, including the world series.
- He is a type A free agent and the Yankees will need to give up high draft picks again.
- He won’t be cheap and will demand a long term contract.
Chat or Chuck?:
Chat. This is the guy the Yankees need. This is the guy that can make the difference. Lets face it, Damon and Matsui will not be on the Yankees together next year, and the Yankees need to fill that hole. Holliday will make this team younger, and can be part of a core that will become a dynasty. The combination of Holliday, Teixeira, A-Rod, Sabathia, Chamberlain, Hughes, Cano, Burnett, and Cabrera looks nice for the next five years.
The Yankees have made it clear that there first priority is a starting pitcher. Having said that, the Yankees will go aggresivley after someone to fill that spot and will then come aggressively after Holliday later in the off season, with a big, long term deal.