Mar
16

Only small personnel shifts remain for the Yanks

By

The feeling around Tampa is that the lineup the Yankees trot out in tonight’s exhibition game will be the one Joe Girardi hands to the umpires on Opening Day. That marks one of the team’s more significant decisions this spring. As we’ve been saying since the outset, if the batting order represents a major decision the team is probably in good shape. After this the Yankees have just a few decisions to make, and only two that will actually affect who stays on the major league roster.

Fifth starter and bullpen

The most discussed position battle this spring has been for the last spot in the rotation. The Yankees insist that all five participants have an equal shot at winning, but that’s what they’re telling the public. Chances are either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes will pitch behind Javy Vazquez, with the others moving to the bullpen. The Yankees know that they’ll need to replace one or both of Vazquez and Andy Pettitte next season, so having at least one of their highly touted youngsters ready to step in would be to their benefit.

Yet the battle doesn’t quite end there. This battle will see four losers, but there remain only three spots in the Yankees’ seven-man bullpen. Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, Chan Ho Park, and David Robertson already have spots, so there isn’t enough room for Al Aceves, Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre, and one of Joba and Hughes. This means that, one way or another, the Yankees will have to make a roster move. That might be trading Mitre, though there’s no guarantee they can find an acceptable suitor. Otherwise, it means optioning a player.

Of the eight bullpen suitors, only Joba/Hughes, Aceves, and Robertson have options. There’s almost no chance Robertson heads to AAA, so that leaves only two choices. The Yankees could send the either Joba or Hughes to the minors to remain stretched out, but they would also fit well in the bullpen. Sending Aceves down also appears to be a waste. They’ll have to pick one, though, since it remains unlikely that they’d actually DFA one of these players.

Photo credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP

25th man

The bench won’t be an issue for the Yankees heading into the season. Francisco Cervelli will back up Jorge Posada, Randy Winn will play the part of fourth outfielder, and Ramiro Pena figures to fill the utility role. That leaves just one spot open, and the Yankees have their battle between two players, Jamie Hoffmann and Marcus Thames. It won’t be an easy decision for the Yanks, either way.

This battle isn’t a matter of picking a winner and sending the loser to AAA. Either Thames or Hoffmann will end up elsewhere if he does not make the team. The Yankees must offer Hoffmann, a Rule 5 pick, back to the Dodgers if he does not make the 25-man roster. Perhaps at that point the two teams can work out a trade — maybe even a Mitre-for-Hoffmann swap — that would allow the Yankees to retain Hoffmann and place him in AAA. Chances are, the Dodgers would not refuse the Yankees’ offer of return.

When Thames signed with the Yankees he knew there was a chance he wouldn’t make the team out of spring training. In fact, with Hoffmann on board it would have made sense for the team to start the season with him in the majors and send Thames to AAA, where he could get at-bats while waiting for an opportunity. Seeing this in his future, Thames negotiated an opt-out clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent if he does not make the 25-man roster. He could, of course, still end up playing for Scranton if no other teams shows interest. Those chances, however, don’t appear strong.

Photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP

Watch them tumble

The Yankees will likely keep a number of pitchers on staff through the end of spring training. The regulars won’t be completely stretched out, and there’s always a need to fill garbage innings when a pitcher gets hammered. But, while we might see guys like Jon Albaladejo and Romulo Sanchez still pitching in big league camp during the last week of March, there’s little to no chance they make the big league team. The Yanks have plenty of depth, to the point where they might have to option a good pitcher and release quality bench fodder. Thankfully, this is nothing but good news.

Categories : Spring Training
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    Perhaps at that point the two teams can work out a trade — maybe even a Mitre-for-Hoffmann swap — that would allow the Yankees to retain Hoffmann and place him in AAA. Chances are, the Dodgers would not refuse the Yankees’ offer of return.

    I dunno, the Dodgers rotation that was supposed to be a traveshamockery has actually looked fairly decent this spring. Kershaw/Billingsley/Padilla/Kuroda is a solid front four, and someone from the Stults/McDonald/Elbert/Haeger grouping probably gives them a decent (albeit unspectacular) #5.

    I’m not holding my breath on the Dodgers taking Sergio Mitre or Chad Gaudin off our hands in exchange for Jamie Hoffmann’s minor league rights. I bet they just prefer taking Hoffmann back if we decide there’s no room for him at the inn.

    • A.D.

      Hoffmann & the Dodgers are a bit odd to think of, in one case they offered him a deal to turn down offers when passed off 40 man last year, but on the other hand they couldn’t find a spot for him on the 40 man.

      Given Hoffmann and Thames have both done nothing this spring, I’d rather have Hoffmann, given age & defensive ability.

    • Mike

      If we can mkae that trade them I hope we get rid of Mitre. Everyone knows Girardi just loves Mitre because he was on his team when he managed the marlin. that is the only reason that Mitre is allowed to compete for the fifth spot. Girardi has this bad habit of falling in love with players he either caught, managed or for some reason think are good players. The guys who fall under that title since he became our manager are Farnsworth, Hawkins, Cody Ransom, Edwar Ramirez, Tomko, Bruney and Sidney Ponson. Mitre is another guy who falls under that category. Unfortunely I think Park will fall under that as well when Girardi picks him to pitch the 7th over Robertson who unlike Park actually has talent.

      Although he has pitched well so far this spring, I think we all saw he is coming back to Earth in his last appearance. Cashman needs to be smart enought to not just put Mitre in the rotation or pen based on spring training. Spring Training & September are the worse time to judge talent and Mitre is one of those guys who perform well at those times. Its bad enought we got Park who already weakens our pen but having mitre there as well will mean that instead of having 7 good relievers, we will only having 5 good ones in Mo, Joba/Hughes, Robertson, Marte and Aceves.

      • JGS

        out of curiosity, why do you think Marte is any good?

        • andrew

          His career numbers don’t hurt

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Girardi has this bad habit of falling in love with players he either caught, managed or for some reason think are good players. The guys who fall under that title since he became our manager are Farnsworth, Hawkins, Cody Ransom, Edwar Ramirez, Tomko, Bruney and Sidney Ponson.

        Nothing in the historical record has shown that Girardi “has a bad habit of falling in love with” players like that or those specific players you named.

        What the historical record does show is that Girardi uses the players that are given to him on his roster in an effort to get useful production out of them to figure out if they actually have useful production. He puts EVERYONE on his roster, good or bad, into positions to either succeed or fail, and then keeps the ones who succeed and jettisons the ones who fail.

        I find it noteworthy that everyone on that list was given that opportunity to succeed or fail, and all of them were quickly DFA’d after they failed, and the team kept motoring onward with no ill effects.

        The process you erroneously describe as Girardi “falling in love with Player X” is actually nothing more than the normal managerial process of separating the wheat from the chaff that Girardi does, just like all big league managers do.

        • A.D.

          What the historical record does show is that Girardi uses the players that are given to him on his roster in an effort to get useful production out of them to figure out if they actually have useful production.

          Exactly, the guys listed either performed fairly well, or got limited samples, sucked, and were gone:

          Tomko 20 innings as a Yankee

          Bruney and his sub-4 ERA and 1 playoff appearance as he started to suck.

          Edwar Ramirez and his 22 ML innings last year (after a sub 4 ERA)

          Farns and his 3.65 ERA under Girardi

          Now if you want to make a case for Ponson, Ransom and Hawkins I’d say that basically there was no other option to throw out here in these circumstances, and all 3 were the last choice in their position.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Exactly, and I find Hawkins and Tomko the most curious, as Girardi actually pulled the plug on him quicker than anyone else.

            There’s a reason we said last year that both Brett Tomko and Mark Melancon had respectively been banished to “The LaTroy Hawkins Zone”.

        • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          The process you erroneously describe as Girardi “falling in love with Player X” is actually nothing more than the normal managerial process of separating the wheat from the chaff that Girardi does, just like all big league managers do.

          except joe torre.

    • http://Nytimes.com Gardimentary

      At this point, they might as well keep Mitre.
      His arm might get stronger as expected, and we
      can always another arm in the middle of the season.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Sure, but the problem, as Joe stated above, is that there’s not enough spots in the bullpen for everyone. There’s 1 rotation spot + 3 bullpen spots for 5 guys: Joba, Hughes, Aceves, Mitre, and Gaudin.

        So keeping both Gaudin and Mitre, who are out of options, means putting one of Joba/Hughes/Aceves in Scranton. I see the logic behind a move to keep one of those three in Scranton, biding time and working on his progression as a starter, but the team seems rather intent on keeping all three of them with the big league club… so we’re playing musical chairs.

        Which is why it returns to Mitre; he’s currently the odd man out.

        • http://nytimes.com Gardimentary

          Looks like Joba could start the season in Scranton.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Based on what? Two spring starts where he was experimenting? That’s not remotely enough evidence.

  • Jose

    “He could, of course, still end up playing for Scranton if no other teams shows interest. Those chances, however, don’t appear strong.”

    Are those chances really that weak? Only 3 teams had any reported interest in him this winter. And one of those filled some of their outfield with others. I’m hesitant to say he would be able to find a big league job at the end of spring training.

    • whozat

      Might be able to find a 40-man slot somewhere, though.

  • A.D.

    But, while we might see guys like Jon Albaladejo and Romulo Sanchez still pitching in big league camp during the last week of March, there’s little to no chance they make the big league team.

    At least’s Alby’s ERA probably won’t go much higher.

    • http://www.yfsf.org AndrewYF

      Since there seems to be a negative correlation between Alby’s weight and ERA, there’s a chance his ERA could reach historic levels if Alby got a tape worm.

      • A.D.

        Yeah they need to fatten him up quickly, Kalteen Bars!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    If we can’t entice the Dodgers to take either Gaudin or Mitre for the minor league rights to Hoffmann, what about trading Mitre to the Pirates for one of their glut of outfielders? They’ve currently got (with likely destinations) in their ST camp:

    * Ryan Church
    * Gorkys Hernández (minor leagues, untouchable)
    * Brandon Jones
    * Garrett Jones (starter)
    * Andrew McCutchen (starter)
    * Lastings Milledge (starter)
    * Brandon Moss
    * John Raynor (also a R5er)
    * José Tábata (minor leagues, untouchable)
    * Delwyn Young

    Of Ryan Church, Brandon Jones, Brandon Moss, and Delwyn Young, would they take any of those players in exchange for Mitre? Young and Moss would probably have the most value to us in the abstract, but I think they’re out of options IIRC, which kinda defeats the purpose of getting an OF we can stash in Scranton. I’m not sure about Church, he may be out of options as well.

    Brandon Jones? I could live with a Mitre for Jones swap…

    • Rose

      Where do you put this list of OF when compared to Jamie Hoffmann.

      Ex.
      * Ryan Church > Hoffmann?
      * Brandon Jones < Hoffmann?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Context neutral, just straight talent/upside:
        Hoffmann = Jones >> Church (due to age and durability concerns)

        However, if they have minor league options and Hoffmann doesn’t, it’s
        Jones >> Church >> Hoffmann

    • http://nytimes.com Gardimentary

      The Pirates wouldn’t trade Andrew McCutchen for Sergio Mitre.
      They probably wouldn’t trade him for Jesus Montero.

      • whozat

        I’m pretty sure that “starter” implied “untouchable”

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Yeah, and it’s also why I began the paragraph immediately after that list with the sentence “Of Ryan Church, Brandon Jones, Brandon Moss, and Delwyn Young, would they take any of those players in exchange for Mitre?”

          I thought I narrowed down who would potentially be discussed quite plainly.

  • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    It has to be Hoffman right? No matter what, LF is going to be the #9 spot in the lineup. I’d much rather have 3 plus defenders out there and ride the hot bat. Thames has no business playing the field, especially LF in YSIII. Throw the strong defenders out there, and let the other 8 hitters make up for a likely little below average bat out there, while also potential saving some bullets for the pitchers will balls that GritHoffWinn will get to that Thames certainly won’t.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Can we get by with only 4 OFs, though? As in, if we pick Thames over Hoffmann, but only use Thames as a righty DH/PH, can we go through a whole season with a Gardner/Granderson/Swisher starting OF with Winn as a supersub, spelling all three of them? We might be able to, I think. All three starters are young, in their primes, and healthy. Winn hasn’t missed time like, ever. They’re all solid defenders and can play anywhere in all three OF positions.

      Hoffmann may not really add that much, while Thames adds a valuable righty power niche.

      Just a counterargument; I haven’t made up my mind for one strategy over the other yet.

      • A.D.

        My issue with keeping Thames is he may only be getting worse at this point, and yes he serves that nice, but where? He’s not going to play regularly against lefties if the line-up is healthy, and likely if NJ is getting time off, they’d rather “rest” a regular in the DH role instead of giving Thames at bats.

        Thames may have a nice in hitting lefties, but is there a place for him to get at-bats with the Yanks, and if so enough to justify keeping him vs a younger player with some potential in Hoffmann.

        • A.D.

          *nice = niche

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Good point, his niche may be too small to be worth keeping him around. That’s a valid point.

            It’s too soon to say that he’s “getting worse at this point”, though. Half a spring training’s worth of PA’s is way too small to determine whether or not Thames can still hit.

            • A.D.

              Yeah, I’m not saying on shitty spring, more that he’s going into age 33 season, on a down year, he very well could be getting worse vs better.

    • Bo

      Isn’t hot bat relative if they all cant hit?

      • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        They’re hitting out of the #9 spot in the lineup. Randy Winn has shown he can hit, and all Gardner has to do is repeat what he did last year. Hoffman is an unknown at the major league level. Again, it’s the #9 spot and they all provide great defense, if the Yankees struggle this year, it will not be because of left field.

  • The Three Amigos

    I am not putting stock into Joba’s innings thus far, However, based on the Yanks sentiment last year, there is easily a scenario where Hughes gets the #5 and not wanting to undue the progress on innings Joba made last year he starts the season in AAA as a starter.

  • Rose

    That leaves just one spot open, and the Yankees have their battle between two players, Jamie Hoffmann and Marcus Thames. It won’t be an easy decision for the Yanks, either way.

    Bought MLB2k10 for Xbox360 when it came out. An interesting tidbit is that Marcus Thames is like an elite player in the game haha. His power and contact against lefties is Pujols-esque…enough and to the point of which his overall value projects him as an everyday producing player.

    This means absolutely nothing in real life…just thought it was interesting anyway.

    They’ve both been doing pretty awful thus far. Hoffmann is batting .150 in 20 at bats and Thames is batting .111 in 18 at bats…but Thames also has 6 K’s.

    Personally, I’d love to keep a young kid with some potential like Hoffmann on the team because sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle and may have something…but Thames gives us the potent bat against lefties off the bench that could come significantly handy…he could become a nice pinch hit bat for Gardner or somebody else off the bench…

  • zs190

    Why not DFA Chad Gaudin? He makes 3 million and has pretty close to a 0 chance of starting in the 5th spot this year. 3 million is a decent amount of change for probably the worst reliever in the bullpen. (behind Ace, Joba/Hughes loser, Mo, Marte, Park, and Robertson)

    He can be cut loose for minimal amount with the non-guaranteed contract and be a pretty good saving for mid season upgrades. If there is an injury, he’s the 3rd guy on the depth chart probably behind Joba/Hughes loser and Aceves, there are bullpen options like Romulo Sanchez or Mark Melancon that could put up comparable numbers in the bullpen probably. I mean there are definitely scenarios where he could become useful. I’m just not sure it’s worth 3 million and a roster spot.

    • Rose

      Not so sure Gaudin would accept a demotion to AAA…especially when he won an arbitration case for $3M salary. And I’m sure a lot of teams would like to have his services as well…but I could be wrong.

  • Rose

    Mark Feinsand made his predictions in his article recently.

    States the following:

    Back on February 19, we took our first stab at predicting what the Yankees’ Opening Day roster would look like. Now that the entry time for our 2009 World Series DVD contest is officially behind us, here’s my latest guess as to what the Yankees will look like on April 4.

    Starting rotation:
    CC Sabathia
    A.J. Burnett
    Andy Pettitte
    Javier Vazquez
    Phil Hughes

    Bullpen:
    Mariano Rivera
    Joba Chamberlain
    Dave Robertson
    Damaso Marte
    Boone Logan Chan Ho Park
    Alfredo Aceves
    Chad Gaudin

    The only changes I made since last month involved Hughes and Chamberlain, who I had in the reverse roles the first time around. I was of the firm belief that the fifth starter’s job was Chamberlain’s to lose, and after watching him pitch twice, I believe he’s done that.

    Back in February, I took the easy way out and put down Gaudin/Mitre as the last spot, but now I say it will be Gaudin. Not because he’s pitched better than Mitre, but because I think Mitre will be the one that gets traded before the end of camp. The only other scenario could be if Joe Girardi opts to take only one lefty, leaving Logan in the minors and another righty – possibly Mitre – in that other bullpen spot.

    UPDATE, 1:00 a.m.: In a case of “Out of sight, out of mind,” I omitted Chan Ho Park – who hasn’t thrown in a game yet – from my list when I put the projected bullpen together. Clearly, Park will be on the roster, so scratch Logan from the list. Girardi loves to talk about how the righties in the pen can also get lefties out, so I’d guess that Marte will be the only lefty now that the Yankees have added Park since the beginning of the spring.

    Lineup:
    Derek Jeter, SS
    Nick Johnson, DH
    Mark Teixeira, 1B
    Alex Rodriguez, 3B
    Robinson Cano, 2B
    Jorge Posada, C
    Curtis Granderson, CF
    Nick Swisher, RF
    Brett Gardner, LF

    Bench:
    Francisco Cervelli, C
    Ramiro Pena, INF
    Randy Winn, OF
    Marcus Thames, OF

    The 13 position players I have listed are the same ones I had a month ago, though I have made two minor changes. First, Cano will hit fifth and Granderson seventh (I had that flip-flopped last month), and Gardner is in line to be the starting left fielder instead of Winn. I had Winn in left field last month, and while I still think he’ll wind up with as much – if not more – playing time than Gardner when the season is over, Gardner seems like the frontrunner right now.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blo.....z0iLMoOWp9

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      I was of the firm belief that the fifth starter’s job was Chamberlain’s to lose, and after watching him pitch twice, I believe he’s done that.

      Yeah… no. It’s virtually impossible for Joba to have lost the 5th starter’s job (that Feinsand is correct in saying is “his to lose” based on only two spring training starts, particularly the first two where he’s rounding into shape and experimenting with an incomplete pitch arsenal.

      Sum total value of all the predictive or informative data about the makeup of the 2010 Yankees pitching staff we’ve gleaned thus far through 2 weeks of spring games: bubkes

      • Rose

        How do you feel about Marte being the only lefty in the pen? And who would you rather have as a 2nd LOOGY in the pen if we had the room: Logan (Weapon X) or Kei Igawa?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Meh, I’ll start worrying about the second lefty in the bullpen in like, September.

          Way too early to fret about that. Let things shake themselves out.

        • http://dontbringinthelefty.blogspot.com don’t_bring_in_the_lefty

          I’d keep my eye on Logan. 8.9 K/9 / 3.69 xFIP in 55 2008 games

          • Accent Shallow

            I like the juxtaposition of your comment and username.

            That said, I really don’t like Logan, but he could certainly change my mind.

      • http://nytimes.com Gardimentary

        Yeah, no. It’s quite possible he’s lost the 5th starter job.
        In fact, it’s incredibly possible, because this Spring is an audition for Joba, and he’s failing miserably.

        If he keeps this up, he’ll start the season in the minors.

        We’ll see soon if he’s “rounding into shape” or he’s just a mess.

        • whozat

          “In fact, it’s incredibly possible, because this Spring is an audition for Joba, and he’s failing miserably. ”

          Only if the Yankees are reactionary, don’t understand how spring training works, and lying to their young pitchers when they say “we know you’re not comfortable coming inside/throwing changeups, but do it anyway…it won’t impact your standing in the ‘5th starter race'”

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Repeated for emphasis:

          Sum total value of all the predictive or informative data about the makeup of the 2010 Yankees pitching staff we’ve gleaned thus far through 2 weeks of spring games: bubkes

          • Accent Shallow

            I think the 5th starter “competition” (quoted because it’s practically a foregone conclusion that it’ll be Joba or Hughes) comes down to stuff and command — if either of them doesn’t appear to have it as ST winds down, maybe that guy should go to AAA instead of the pen.

            Obviously, ST stats take a significant backseat to how a guy looks.

    • http://nytimes.com Gardimentary

      That’s about right.

  • gc

    And how many times does the team actually need the 5th starter during April?

  • Bo

    If Joba doesnt win the 5th starters job it is a black eye for the organization. After what they did to prepare and nurture him and the fact that all we’ve heard is ace starter.

    Especially if he isnt even good enough to win a bullpen spot coming out of the spring.

    • D

      Epic boversimplification. Or do you really think that if Joba starts the year in AAA it will be due to anything other than wanting to keep him stretched out and an option as a starter going forward?

      I understand that your persona here is more-or-less high concept troll but you need to do better than “Hurr, Mitre>Joba, lulz.”

      • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        I understand that your persona here is more-or-less high concept troll but you need to do better than “Hurr, Mitre>Joba, lulz.”

        i enjoyed this comment.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Operation: SHUTDOWN

    • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      FP

    • A.D.

      If Joba doesnt win the 5th starters job it is a black eye for the organization.

      I would disagree with this, its certainly a step back for Joba, and disappointing for the organization, but it’s in no way a black eye.

      • http://nytimes.com Gardimentary

        The black eye is on the organization who decide by committee what to do with him every 3 months.

      • CS Yankee

        I would imagine that Joba or Hughes will prevail as the 5th starter. One of the other three in the mix would have to be “lights out” while Hughes and Joba struggled greatly.

        Ace is doing great but the bread is still baking in the 5th starter spot.

        Look for the majority of 5th spots going to Joba for the season even if he fails to get that spot come April. He was solid after the All Star game until they had him skip a start. The battle is fair drama but don’t let the SSS rule your thinking; as both Hughes and Joba are FAR likely to exceed as starters.

        Talent wise, the other three are not in the same zip code!

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/78400-joseph-delgrippo Joseph DelGrippo

    Marcus Thames should never be part of this team. He might be the most overrated player and should not have been signed prior to the spring. Home run rates are nice to look at but if a player has not toher redeemable baseball qualities, then it isn’t worth the almost million bucks if he makes the team out of spring.

    In that case, Hoffmann makes the team as the fifth outfielder (or the proposed trade), for no other reason than that the Yankees lack young OF depth and Hoffmann plays good defense.

    If the Yankees want right handed power, they have Tex, Alex and Posada in the lineup. The early season eventual right handed pinch hitting power bat will come from Jorge Vazquez, former Mexican League slugger, who mashed last year at AA Trenton (15 2B, 13 HR, 56 RBI’s,.935 OPS) before getting hurt.

    Not that he will make the team out of spring training but can be a call up in May or June.

    Even though the Dodgers have a decent rotation, all team need depth and the Dodgers do not have the established depth.

    I have always felt Aceves should be a starter, as his arsenal of five pitches throw in any count is best suited as a starting pitcher. I also feel that Joba and Hughes are starters, too.

    Under Cashman’s reign since 2005, the Yankees have begun to develop starting pitchers, but also relief pitchers such as Melancon and Robertson who can go two innings at a time and get out righties and lefties.

    That eliminates the need for a second lefty and gives the roster more flexibility.

    If Joba and Phil do not pitch well the rest of the spring, why can’t Aceves take over the starting spot? Why can’t Joba go back to Triple A and work on his starter command? Why can’t Hughes go to the bullpen for the early part of the season and throw two inning stints each appearance?

    Then if an injury occurs in the rotation, then Joba could move right in. Also, if Aceves falters (which I doubt) you also have Joba ready. Hughes is on an innings limit anyway so he can not be a full time starter all season.

    • CS Yankee

      Agree on Thames.

      Aceves is solid but long term I’m concern with his low k/9 rate.

      Hughes seems solid but needs that third pitch to be a solid starter. It may take a few years, but I see him as a starter.

      Joba is a starter now since he has four plus rated pitches. His velocity was down in 2009 but he was a 2-3 type pitcher until late July when they worried about his innings.

      If Ace wins #5 fine, but don’t waste development on both Joba & Hughes in the pen…send one down, pass the other around (1-3 innings outings)