Keeping expectations low for Yanks’ own Felix Unger

In 1968, Neil Simon introduced the world to Felix Unger, a satirical portrayal of a hypochondriac. Well, ladies and gentlemen, the Yankees have their own hypochondriac earning nearly $10 million a season. That man is, of course, oft-injured pitcher Carl Pavano.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Rajah of Rehab is at it again. This time, he was the unfortunate recipient of a line drive off the bat of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during batting practice. While Brian Cashman says it’s just a bone bruise, LoHud’s Peter Abraham noted that bone bruises often take 18 months to heel (Just kidding).

Meanwhile, Pavano is indeed slated to pitch on Sunday against the Phillies during a Grapefruit League contest. Sadly, the game won’t be on TV, but many other games will be shown on the YES Network in the coming weeks. Glory days are here again.

But joking aside, the Yankees will be counting on Carl Pavano to pitch this year. I’m not sure we should really expect too much from him. Last week, Joseph took a look at Pavano’s numbers over his last few seasons on the mound. I want to look at what we should expect from him this year.

Let’s break it down by projection.

IP GS ERA
PECOTA 90 131.2 21 3.32
PECOTA 50 108 17 4.63
Marcel 70 NA 4.50
ZiPS 128 20 4.64
CHONE 2.1 90 NA 4.38

Boy, that 90-percentile PECOTA projection sure looks appealing, doesn’t it? Well, don’t get your hopes up. It’s hard to imagine Carl Pavano as an integral part of the Yankee rotation this summer. At best, Pavano may start around 20 games and throw 115-120 innings. That still leaves about 14 starts for the team’s 5th starter slot.

More discouraging – but not very surprising – is Pavano’s expected ERA. Pavano is set to deliver around 115 unspectacular innings of league-average ball. That 4.50 ERA is hardly comforting. Luckily, the Yankees are a team built to score runs. So Carl may actually win more than a handful of games. He most likely won’t be a dominate pitcher though.

Luckily for us though, the Yanks have ample back-up plans. They’ve got Darrell Rasner and Jeff Karstens. They’ve got Tyler Clippard and Humberto Sanchez. And they’ve always got Phil Hughes. These young guns all look a lot more appealing than one league-average Carl Pavano.

Image: Tony Randall, left, as Felix Unger. (Courtesy of Slate)

Keeping up to date

I’m not one for linking to mainstream media stories and then turning the other way. If you wanted that, you’d look straight into the horse’s mouth, right? I’d rather dig into questions regarding the state of the team, even if much of it is well-reasoned speculation at this point. However, I’m not finished with my current project (you should see my Farnsworth piece tonight or tomorrow morning), and there are a few loose ends to tie up:

Damon is back in camp. He says it has nothing to do with his daughter or father. From the quotes in the story, it sounds like something Damon just needed to clear his conscience. Glad to hear that it was, in fact, a non-story.

Also contained in the above link is the result of Pavano’s MRI. A bone bruise they say. I’m not sure how long that will keep him out, but it doesn’t seem like it will shelf him past Tuesday’s intrasquad game.

Villone turned down offers to accept Yanks minor-league deal. This is kind of troubling, because his acceptance of a guaranteed contract elsewhere would have meant a sandwich pick for the Yanks. Looks like Villone didn’t give the Yankees much choice in the matter.

And really, that’s all that’s newsworthy. The analysis will return to its regular schedule later tonight.