The Philadelphia Phillies reportedly have a mild interest in New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina. Pitching against National League lineups, without designated hitters, could extend Mussina’s career long enough to boost his Hall of Fame hopes. He’s no cinch to make the Yankees’ starting rotation.
Granted, I have mild interest in a lot of things that never come true, but hey, it’s a slow day. Now, as long-time readers of RAB know, I’m no fan of Mike Mussina, and while my kneejerk reaction to this rumor was something along the lines of “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” I think the Yankees actually need Mike Mussina.
In 2008, somehow, the Yankees are going to need to fashion together 1,458 innings, give or take a few extra-inning affairs. By and large, this means finding some starters to throw 200+ innings or, barring that, finding enough starters to put together enough innings. The Yankees have Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang penciled in for about 200-220 innings each. But after that, things look a little dicey.
Had Phil Hughes escaped injury, he would have been on target for about 180-200 innings pitched in 2008, but it was not meant to be. After reaching 146 in 2006, Hughes missed significant time and ended the year with a combined total of 116 IP. The Yanks will try to cap him around 150 in 2008, I think. Joba Chamberlain threw a combined 116 IP as well in 2007, and I’d probably peg him at 150 max in 2008.
So that leaves Ian Kennedy. He threw a shade under 170 innings in 2007 with an increase of 70 innings pitched from 2006. The Yanks could push him up to 190 or so, but they would probably want to keep him around 170 again.
Enter Mike Mussina. Unless we want to live through Kei Igawa and a parade of Jeff Karstens, Darrell Rasner and the guy begging for change on the street, the Yankees may need 150 innings or so out of Mike Mussina.
So never mind that this trade – this hypothetical, maybe-the-Phillies-are-interested trade – has a minuscule change in hell of happening. It might not even be good for the Yanks if it did.