Replacing Andy Pettitte


(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

It’s not quite the worst case scenario, but it’s pretty damn bad. The Yankees lost Andy Pettitte yesterday for what GM Brian Cashman estimated to be four-to-five weeks with a Grade I groin strain. Sergio Mitre, coming off an oblique injury, will take Andy’s spot in the rotation for now, just like he did earlier in the season. That’s all well and good if this was a short-term thing, but we’re talking about a month long fill-in here. It could be even worse if Pettitte’s 38-year-old body doesn’t recover as quickly. There has to be a backup plan.

The Yanks sacrificed some pitching depth this offseason when they traded Ian Kennedy, who is having a decent enough season out in the desert (4.83 FIP, 4.32 xFIP). He assuredly would have been given the first crack at that rotation vacancy if he were still around. Luckily the Yanks still have plenty of options to fill that spot, some internal, some external. Let’s run them down.


Mitre is first in line for the open rotation spot simply because he’s the incumbent sixth starter. His spot starts against the Tigers (4.1 IP, 4 R) and Twins (5 IP, 1 R) were acceptable, even though the Yanks lost both games. Mitre has definitely looked better this season than he did last, but we have no idea what the injury will do to him. Chad Gaudin is another possibility out of the bullpen, but he’s been a mess this year and I suspect he’s a “break glass in case of emergency” option only. Ditto Dustin Moseley.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Down in the minors, the Yankees have two viable starter options in my opinion: Ivan Nova (above) and Jason Hirsh. Zach McAllister has the shine of being a former top prospect, but he’s spun his wheels in Triple-A this year. He’s been far too hittable (.298 AVG against), hasn’t missed nearly enough bats (5.38 K/9), and isn’t getting ground balls either (37.4%). Sorry, that’s not deserving of a promotion. Tim Redding has been good in the minors this season (3.23 FIP, 84.2 IP), but we’ve all seen this movie before. It doesn’t have a happy ending.

Nova has a leg up on Hirsh simply because he’s already on the 40-man roster. His three inning cameo with the big league team earlier this season was mixed in with 103.2 innings of 3.92 FIP, 52.1% ground ball pitching in the minors. Not a set-the-world-on-fire performance, but certainly worth a look. Another thing Nova has in his favor is his schedule. He starts today from Scranton, which lines him up perfectly to start on Saturday, Pettitte’s next scheduled turn. If nothing else, they could keep Nova lined up with that spot so if he does get called up, the transition is seamless.

Hirsh actually spend a chunk of the season pitching out of Scranton’s bullpen before moving back into the rotation when the team decided Romulo Sanchez was better utilized in relief. As a starter this year, Hirsh has pitched to a rather ugly 4.96 FIP in 74 IP, with the big problem being the 11 homers he’s given up. That homer rate is high compared to the rest of his career, but I’m not sure you can call a guy up and count on the regression happening in the show. Hirsh isn’t on the 40-man either, which would require another move. That’s simple enough though, since Al Aceves can just slide over to the 60-day DL retroactively.

So out of the internal options, Mitre is Plan A, Nova Plan B, and I guess Hirsh and Gaudin duke it out for the title of Plan C.

(AP Photo/Jim Prisching)


The first name everyone will talk about here is Ted Lilly. He’s a former Yank that reportedly begged the team to bring him back as a free agent after the 2006 season only to watch them pick up Kei Igawa instead. Lilly has been rock solid in Chicago, though he missed the end of last season and the start of this season after having surgery to fix a debridement in his pitching shoulder. Unsurprisingly, his already not-so-great velocity has been further reduced, and his strikeout rate is down one full whiff per nine innings from the past few years.

Lilly is arguably the best starting pitcher on the market considering what should be a relatively low cost, so the Yanks will have plenty of competition for his services. His season marks of 4.62 xFIP and 4.58 tRA are right on par with Mitre’s career marks (4.29 and 4.64, respectively), so the upgrade might be minimal. The upgrade in name value is considerable though, too bad that doesn’t affect anything on the field.

Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren are pipe dreams, the Yanks aren’t going to make a major move like that to fill a hole for one or two months. I suppose Ricky Nolasco fits in this category as well. Ben Sheets has been dreadful on the road (6.29 FIP), Kevin Millwood has been dreadful everywhere (5.03 FIP).  Brett Myers of the Astros is a bit more realistic, and he is very much available. He’s having a nice bounceback season (3.71 FIP) and throws a ton of innings (at least six in all 19 starts), but again there will be plenty of teams interested in acquiring him. Former Yank Jay Westbrook (4.34 FIP) is another guy like Lilly and Myers. Got the name, not guaranteed to outpitch the in-house options.

If the Yankees do make a trade, the real question is about cost and what Cashman is willing to pay for a guy that might only be in the rotation for six or seven turns, maybe less. Since none of the reasonable targets currently available is an elite arm, I suspect not much.

Waiver Trade

If Cashman does make a deal for another starting pitcher, I’m willing to bet this is the route he takes. Waiver trades take place after the July 31st trade deadline, when any player on any team’s 40-man roster has to clear trade waivers (100% revocable) to be a traded. If a player is claimed, he can only be traded to the team that claimed him. Almost every player clears, situations like Alex Rios last year are few and far between. Pretty simple, and very rarely are their any complications.

Last year Cashman waited until August to essentially purchase Chad Gaudin from the Padres (he cleared trade waivers beforehand), who then went on to be very servicable down the stretch. We’re talking low risk, low cost, low expectations here.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Someone like Jeremy Bonderman (4.27 FIP) could make sense here if the Tigers fall out of the race, though his salary (still owed more than $5.5M this year) is an issue. Detroit has already swallowed everything left on Dontrelle Willis’ and Nate Robertson’s contracts this year (more than $21M), so I can’t imagine they’d be willing to do that again. There’s always Brian Bannister (right), who was connected to the Yanks last year before they acquired Gaudin, but he’s not exactly setting the world on first this year (5.26 FIP). Dave Bush (4.98 FIP)? Meh.

That about sums up the state of the waiver market, but remember, right now there are eight-frickin-teen teams within six games of a Wild Card spot. Some of those clubs will inevitably drop out of the race over the next few weeks, and more players will become available.

The Yankees have the comfort of a three game lead in the division and a six-and-a-half game lead for the Wild Card if it comes down to that. They’re in a position where all they have to do is maintain the status quo while Pettitte is out, they don’t have to worry about playing catch-up. Of course that shouldn’t stop them from trying to field the best team possible, and might mean finding someone besides Mitre to start every five days. Remember, Phil Hughes is going to need a breather every now and then to avoid an unnecessarily dangerous increase in workload, so they’re probably going to need another spot starter at some point.

Mitre and Nova are solid sixth and seventh starters, but of course they’re not going to replace what Andy was doing this year. Solid outings every five days and enough to keep the team in the game is really all we could ask for, and if the Yanks don’t get that, Cashman will do something about it. I’m sure of it.

Categories : Pitching


  1. The Yanks sacrificed some pitching depth this offseason when they traded Ian Kennedy and then moved Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen instead of keeping him in Scranton for just such a scenario…”


    • poster on another computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:


      All this pessimism aside though, I’m guessing that Andy is out for less than the 4 to 6 weeks Cashman guessed for a grade I tear. But on the other hand, hey, what the Hell do I know?

    • Sweet Lou says:

      Agree 110%

    • ZZ says:

      With the way the Yankees had hoped Joba would pitch in the 8th inning role this year, he would have been more valuable to this team in that role than as a spot starter for the next month.

      Given the way he has pitched in one inning stints this year could you actually say he would be better than Mitre?

      Personally, watching the way he has been pitching since ST I think he would be worse.

      Also, if they have no plans to ever revisit Joba to the rotation and have decided he is a reliever for them keeping him as a starter in Scranton would contradict that plan.

      • Everything you say is true, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Yankees (for the second year in a row) sacrificed their SP depth by moving one of their top two SP prospects into a bullpen role. That’s all I was saying.

        Had Joba stayed in Scranton, starting in a low-pressure environment and working on mechanics, who’s to say he wouldn’t be much more effective than he’s been so far this year? Maybe it would have given him the time/space to work on mastering a repeatable delivery and he’d be an excellent starter right now.

        • Hummingbird S. says:

          But what he’s saying is that maybe the Yankees believe Joba isn’t a top SP prospect.

          There’s no way for you to know that Joba would be a good SP, but there’s a chance the organization saw something while working with him and decided he would be best used in the ‘pen.

          • Mike HC says:

            And Tommie is saying that maybe the Yanks were wrong to give up on him as a starting pitcher.

            • Chris says:

              If he can’t be successful as a one inning reliever, why would you assume that he would be successful as a starter?

              • Mike HC says:

                Considering repetition of delivery is his biggest problem. Starting pressure free games in the minors, where he can repeat his delivery over and over again as a starting pitcher, is a far better way of correcting a consistency problem than pitching for one inning stints where you have all the pressure on you in the world.

                • That.

                  Joba’s not pitching the way we want him to now; the best way to rectify that IMO is to demote him and have him work on his craft as a starter. Had we done that back in April, perhaps he would be a better pitcher today and would be able to solve our Andy Pettitte problem.

                • ZZ says:

                  I have been advocating sending Joba down to the minors since April, but the way you describe this scenario is a pipe dream.

                  I don’t know if you know a lot about pitching mechanics, but just repeating his delivery is not about doing it over and over again.

                  Having a tight and repeatable delivery is an extremely complicated motion that involves all parts of the body, very few human beings can consistently replicate.

                  The most likely thing with Joba, especially given he is not in very good shape is that he will never be able to repeat his delivery. If he maybe lost 30 pounds, then maybe the likelihood is greater.

                  I have wanted to send Joba down because I don’t view him as a major league pitcher for a myriad of reasons.

                  But a few months of “pressure free pitching in Scranton” is extremely, extremely unlikely to give him the physical ability to repeat his delivery.

                  • Mike HC says:

                    That is a very fair, well reasoned opinion. And while I am by no means an expert on pitching mechanics, you don’t have to be to form an opinion here.

                    The only way to do something repeatedly, especially something that involves your entire mind and body working as one, is to do it over and over and over again. It is called commonsense, and any “expert,” who tries to tell you that there is more, but its tough to explain, etc … is a bullshit artist, imo.

                    You very well could be right though. It might be impossible, or very unlikely that Joba could ever be a successful starter. We may never find out. But I would have done things differently, and I would have been willing to take the chance to develop a potential Ace. Rather than relegate him to the pen after one shaky year (half year) of starting with decreased velocity coming off an injury.

            • Hummingbird S. says:

              If you trust Tommie’s decision making over the Yankees’ decision making then I don’t know what to tell you.

              And that’s not a shot at Tommie, since he knows a lot about baseball, but maybe we should trust the guys that are getting paid to make those decisions.

              • Mike HC says:

                I was agreeing with Tommie, meaning it is also my own decision making.

                And the Yanks are just about the only team in baseball who would have turned him into a reliever because they had 5 guys who were better than him. Other than maybe one or two other teams, Joba would still be a starting pitcher right now.

                The decision to put him in the pen was a “win now” type of decision that only a team like the Yanks can afford to make, and based on Joba’s numbers in the pen this year, and the fact another starter could be very much in need for the next two months, it looks like the Yanks were wrong. As hard as that is for you to grasp.

                • Hummingbird S. says:

                  That’s what you think. Maybe the Yankees saw something that wouldn’t make Joba an effective starter. Just remember he’s had a few injuries while starting in his career.

                  All I’m saying is that even though it looks like a “win now” move maybe we should trust the Yankees’ FO since we don’t know what their thought process was to make this decision.

                • ZZ says:

                  And the Yanks are just about the only team in baseball who would have turned him into a reliever because they had 5 guys who were better than him. Other than maybe one or two other teams, Joba would still be a starting pitcher right now.

                  Says who?

                  If you got a poll at GM/Executives around the league you would be surprised at how few teams view Joba as a starting pitcher after last year given this trouble repeating his delivery and his physical conditioning.

                  If you can’t handle repeating your delivery for 1 inning then you can’t cut it as a starter.

                  There were legitimate questions about whether he would be able to handle being a starter from the time he was drafted.

                  The decision to put him in the pen was a “win now” type of decision that only a team like the Yanks can afford to make, and based on Joba’s numbers in the pen this year, and the fact another starter could be very much in need for the next two months, it looks like the Yanks were wrong. As hard as that is for you to grasp.

                  So the pitcher pitching to close a 6 ERA in 1 inning stints is the answer to be called upon every 5th day to pitch 6-7 innings?

                  I’ll take my chances with Sergio Mitre.

                  • So the pitcher pitching to close a 6 ERA in 1 inning stints is the answer to be called upon every 5th day to pitch 6-7 innings?

                    What we’re saying is, had Joba been in Scranton all this time, perhaps he wouldn’t be a pitcher pitching to close to a 6 ERA in one inning stints. Perhaps the extra work on the structured schedule with no expectation of results would have allowed Joba to fix his delivery issues and he’d be a better option than Mitre.

                    That’s all.

                  • Mike HC says:

                    I would have taken my chances with not giving up on a potential Ace who throws 99 mph with three other pitches so he could be our 8th inning man pitching about 60-70 innings a year. Last year, before all the skipping and abbreviated starts, he was a serviceable starter, and that was even with decreased velocity. With his velocity back up, some seasoning in the minors helping him with his delivery and consistency, I could have easily imagined Joba coming into his own as a starter.

                    You are entitled to your opinion though.

                    • Mike HC says:

                      As are the Yanks I should add. And they are the only opinion that counts.

                      I see Brandon Morrow as a similar situation. Some teams see him as a reliever, others as a starter. Time will tell how it turns out for him as well.

                    • ZZ says:

                      When was the last time Joba threw 99 MPH.

                      And since when is his velocity back up?

                      He is the same pitcher as last year, just with a tick or two extra because of his move to the bullpen like most starters gain.

                      People keep equating Joba with this potential Ace/Top pitching prospect for the Yankees.

                      But he is not that guy anymore and hasn’t been for quite some time. Even if he were still eligible for “prospect status” he would not be a top pitching prospect for the Yankees given his current ability.

                      The Yankees have to make decisions on who Joba is now, not who he was 2-3 years ago.

                    • Mike HC says:

                      Disagree. HIs velocity has been back up for a while now. His fastball hits 99 all the time on the YES gun.

                    • Mike HC says:

                      And Joba was clearly considered a future starter for the Yanks just last year. So it only took last years performance for them to decide to put him in the pen. It has not been 2-3 years coming as you say.

          • Mr. Sparkle says:

            Which of course would go against EVERYTHING the Yankees have been saying about him since the day he threw his first MLB pitch.

        • Tank Foster says:

          Had Joba stayed in Scranton, starting in a low-pressure environment and working on mechanics, who’s to say he wouldn’t be much more effective than he’s been so far this year?

          Yeah….and had Joba experienced the same success in the bullpen that Hughes did last seas, perhaps it would have set the stage for his emergence as a quality starter next season.

          I find it interesting that your interpretation of Hughes’ usage last season “sacrificed starting pitching depth.” I dunno….prior to Phil’s stint as a short reliever, he was a pretty iffy proposition as a starter. Since then, he’s been pretty good.

          I think a less judgy-wudgy way of approaching this is to suggest (presuming Joba is still being considered as a future starter by the FO) that Andy’s injury is the catalyst for moving ahead with Joba’s transition to full time starting pitching.

          I disagree with that plan, because, of course, Joba has sucked much of the time this year, and making him a starter on the ML roster would be ill-advised now.

          But I don’t think one can determine with any degree of certainty that having Joba starting games in Scranton to this point of the 2010 season would have him any more ready to be a NYY starter than he is now.

    • Mike HC says:

      Agreed. I remember having this discussion after they made the 5th starter decision. Between this injury, and Joba taking Hughes spot at the end of the year, he could have had almost a full season of minor league development, plus about two months of starting in the bigs.

      I think we could have managed to live without the 5.77 era and 1.51 whip over 39 innings in the pen.

    • Fred S. says:

      The yanks will be fine for a month with help from within. If Pettite doesn’t respond well to treatment and healing in a month then you can get someone. I think Robertson would be good as a starter, and should be given a shot.

    • Joseph Quinn says:


  2. Steve H says:

    If Andy were out for the year, I would like them to do something, but nothing drastic. If they want a mediocre lefty, sign Washburn instead of trading for Lilly. I know Montero isn’t the real cost for Lilly, but I don’t think trading for a 5th starter because a guy is going to miss 5 starts or so makes any sense, especially when there are guys capable of filling in.

  3. If the Yankees do make a trade, the real question is about cost and what Cashman is willing to pay for a guy that might only be in the rotation for six or seven turns, maybe less.

    Which is why I’m all aboard the Brett Myers bandwagon. Because when Andy comes back and we have 6 starters for 5 rotation slots, Myers can move to the bullpen, where he’s got a 3.38 career ERA in 57 appearances.

    I’m just holding out hope that Crazy Drayton McClane doesn’t price him at “Montero or Bust”.

  4. A.D. says:

    Personally I’d prefer Mitre in the pen with Nova getting Pettitte’s spot right now.

    Also, while he’s barely gotten to AAA figure Phelps could be listed as an in-house option.

    • Also, while he’s barely gotten to AAA figure Phelps could be listed as an in-house option.

      Nah, still too soon. I’d be okay with a guy making the leap from AA to the bigs without conquering AAA if he was an elite prospect, like Phil or Joba, but Phelps is much fringier of a guy. Let him go step by step.

      • Rob says:

        Why is Phelps fringy and not simply back of the rotation material? His K:BB is solid. In fact, he has yet to walk anyone in 3 AAA starts. He’s 23. He doesn’t give up HRs (2 in 106 IP this year, 16 in 329 IP in his career). He throws a good number of groundballs. His stuff may not be front of the rotation material, but I don’t see why he’s not a spot starter this year if necessary. I’d certainly take Phelps over Nova, for instance. Nova gives up more hits, more walks, more homers and with fewer K’s.

        • He’s not fringy compared to Nova, because they’re both fringy starters. He’s fringy compared to Joba/Hughes because he just doesn’t have future ace stuff.

          His stuff may not be front of the rotation material…

          Which makes him fringy.

          …but I don’t see why he’s not a spot starter this year if necessary.

          Because he’s way down on the totem pole. Mitre, Gaudin, Nova, Hirsh, hell, even Romulo have all shown the ability to get guys out at the big league and AAA levels. Phelps hasn’t. He’s been great, but he’s been great against lower level competition only. That matters a lot when picking a spot starter. The guys who leap right from AA to the bigs are special guys, and Phelps just isn’t special enough.

    • Jorge says:

      I’d want to see whether Nova’s a solid 5th starter option if Andy doesn’t return next year as well (funny how, in my head, I just assume it means Cliff Lee in pinstripes. Need to stop doing that.) Whether July/August is the time to be doing that, though, is certainly up for debate.

      If anything, a solid performance by Mitre would make him a hotter trade commodity if/when he gets pushed out of the picture on the Yanks.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        Agreed. Haren would be awesome but too costly so I’d rather go with Nova. Seems to have the most upside of any in house contender.

  5. Simon B. says:

    It would’ve been awfully nice if they sent down Joba a few weeks ago, and then he would’ve had ample enough time to get ready to take some of these starts over the last two months of the season. The organization is seemingly completely stubborn over this, so it doesn’t look like it would happen anyway, but in the off-chance they suddenly come to their senses, time is running out for Joba to prepare as a starter in the minors.

    Then again, it would’ve been awfully nice if they didn’t put him in the bullpen at all. A year completely wasted for him.

  6. Frank says:

    I’d like Myers for the reasons cited above- he’s durable, has experience and can slide into the BP when Pettitte returns. Yanks are one of the only teams capable of taking on Oswalt and his salary, but I don’t think that’s a smart move. The only other pitcher I like who is young, has upside and can help the Yanks moving forwatrd is Fausto Carmona. But he’d cost alot as well.

  7. Rose says:

    Ken Rosenthal also said on Saturday that Cashman has been in talks with the Marlins about Leo Nunez and Cody Ross.

    Wouldn’t be bad…

  8. Chris says:

    Why not shoot for the Moon. If you’re willing to trade Montero for Cliff Lee, would you be willing to trade a package centered on Montero for Josh Johnson? The Marlins are out of it and will not be a contender, imo, for the next few years, why not?

    • Why not shoot for the Moon?

      Because it’s the moon, and you’re not going to get there by shooting at it. You are aware of what that idiom means, aren’t you?

    • Rose says:

      It would be a pretty large package that the Yankees probably can barely afford without draining the farm. Not to mention we don’t necessarily need to do it at the moment. Although he’d be great.

      Josh Johnson would net practically double what the Mariners wanted for Lee I’m guessing. Maybe more.

    • Tom Zig says:

      It would probably have to be Montero + Romine + Hughes + ZMac as a throw in.

    • bexarama says:

      I’d be willing because I looooove me some JJ (I originally wrote Johnson but that just sounds… wrong…), but they just gave him a big extension. Plus, if they want to contend however soon, Johnson will be a huge part of that. We’re not getting Josh Johnson.

    • mikebk says:

      because the difference is lee was a FA while johnson has probably been the best pitcher in baseball the last 2 months and is reasonably priced at 3/35 for the upcoming years. The Marlins are also about to open a new stadium and need Hanley and Johnson to make it look like they are trying to spend money compete.

      To get him it would take a lot more than lee was going to cost.

    • A.D. says:

      Johnson is signed below market rate until 2013, as has been if not the best, one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. The cost would be huge, far greater than the Lee deal, and if the Marlins intended on trading him they probably wouldn’t have signed him to an extension.

      The Marlins are out of it and will not be a contender, imo, for the next few years, why not?

      While the Marlins are unlikely to be favorites going into a season they shouldn’t be written off as a team for the next few years.

      • Chris says:

        I think that anytime you have an owner like Loria, you have to realize that conventional wisdom may not apply. I had forgotten about the new stadium, however don’t know if that is really going to make a difference when the old Expos laugh at your attendence numbers. I realise that a deal of this sort is going to be expense in terms of prospects, but unless you ask, there really isn’t a way to know what the price is.

        @ tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder – shoot for the moon:
        Aim high. It means set great goals for yourself, and try your best. Don’t aim at easy-to-reach goals. Go for something that shows the best of your ability.

        I know what an idiom is. Just an FYI. Wiki indicates that there are over 25,000 iodioms in American English alone.

    • tony c. says:

      You can forget this one cause no way the Marlins giving up J.J.straight up.Now,if you wonna shoot for the moon,offer the Royals Montero(since your eager to unload him)plus (2)other prospect’s for Greinke.

  9. theyankeewarrior says:

    I don’t know much about Mitre’s oblique injury, but it seems as though he had been throwing very well in his second year removed from TJS.

    Assuming he is healthy, I think he could play the Chacon/Small role for a month, although I would be intrigued to see Nova get a shot.

    As far as the trade market,(as TSJC mentioned) I think a guy that can fill the spot starter role and then shift to the pen would be ideal.

    Someone with experience in both situations.

  10. CS Yankee says:

    You don’t replace Pettitte, you just hope to contain him.


  11. A.D. says:

    The good thing is there should be enough internal options and/or lower cost external options that the Yanks don’t need to do anything drastic.

  12. Andy pettitte could be out up to a month with a groin injury. For all your up to date fantasy player news, articles, weather, rankings, and much more

  13. Mike HC says:

    I think this is more short term than they are letting on for some reason. I expect Pettitte to be out 4 weeks max and would not be surprised if he were back earlier.

    Saying all that, it is still conceivable for them to trade for another starter.

  14. vin says:

    If Omar Minaya was running the Yanks, Brackman or Betances would take Pettite’s spot in the rotation.

  15. Tampa Yankee says:

    Guys, I don’t know what you are all worried about since Andy is “faked” the injury so we wouldn’t have to keep getting lit up by the Rays.

    /Toby David’d (from the King David show on 1010Sports AM Tampa)

    • Tampa Yankee says:

      Wow! me = fail

      Guys, I don’t know what you are all worried about since Andy is “faked” the injury so we he wouldn’t have to keep getting lit up by the Rays.

      /Toby David’d (from the King David show on 1010Sports AM Tampa)

    • bexarama says:

      Oh my goodness really?

      • Tampa Yankee says:

        Oh yeah, very real! Tampa Bay radio heads are turrible but it’s entertaining as a non-Ray fan to hear them bitch, moan and groan (in some instances whine and cry) about everything.

        • bexarama says:

          I think I’ve said this before but the fact that there are absolutely insane, delusional Rays fans proves there are crazy fans of absolutely every team.

          • CS Yankee says:

            Hard to imagine as I thought the average age in the Bay area was like 102? Don’t they mellow with age?

  16. Phil C says:

    I too would prefer Nova to Mitre. There is no reason for a panic trade. The Yanks have a 7 game lead in the loss column over the Red Sox to make the playoffs. If the Yanks play .600 ball, then Boston has to play .700 ball oevr 70 games to catch them! I’m still more worried about the pen than about the starters.

    • CS Yankee says:

      Andy’s been pitching like a #1 or 2 starter in 2010, Mitre/Nova might only be a #6 starter. So the dropoff can be greater than expected.

      I feel the key pitching wise will be;
      1) If Hughes mixes his pitches better
      2) If AJ can get right (mental, physical, etc).
      3) More bullpen outings like Sunday
      4) The health of Mo

      The ‘pen will improve, it has more talent than last year’s first half ‘pen.

  17. JohnC says:

    Would love to have Brett Myers. Lilly’s decreased velocity is a big concern. He’d get rocked in the AL.

  18. Probable Cause says:

    If the injury to Pettitte really is only going to be 5 weeks and not linger into September than Im OK with that. If AJ Burnett was a real pitcher then we wouldn’t worry as much as we have to about throwing Mitre/Gaudin/Nova out there.

    Im more worried about the bullpen, especially with Marte’s tendinitis now. We essentially have NO ONE to rely on in the pen, other than the obvious. Joba/Robertson/Logan/Mosely???

    In summary-If we had any decent options in the bullpen and AJ learned to pitch, putting Mitre/Gaudin out there once every 5 days wouldnt be so terrible.

    • Mike HC says:

      Good points. Although, a CC, Hughes, Javy, AJ foursome is still good enough to afford our fifth guy to be a AAAA type pitcher.

      And hopefully the pen starts to get it together, as they did around this time last year as well.

  19. Mike HC says:

    So, do you think this has any impact on his decision to retire or not. Another injury can’t help. But I guess if he comes back strong, all will be well again.

    • Ross in Jersey says:

      Depends on how he feels after the season.

      And I mean, this is Cashman guessing on 4-5 weeks no? We really haven’t heard anything to confirm that. Not saying he’ll make his next start, but it’s still possible he’s not gone until September.

      • Mike HC says:

        Oh yea. I agree. See my above comment where I say I think it is more short term than they are letting on. But what do I know? That is just a hunch.

        If Pettitte comes back, is a little rusty, still feels a groin twinge in the offseason etc … it just can’t help I guess is all I’m saying. Or maybe he will feel like he has unfinished business if it ends that way. I can’t get in Petttitte’s head. I am just curious.

        • Ross in Jersey says:

          Well, if Andy retires I think that bumps up the Lee Probability™ from 98.3% to 102.7%.

          I kind of expected him to retire after last year, finally getting another championship you know? But hey, he clearly still has something left in the tank and might as well take the 10 million a year while he still can.

          • Mike HC says:

            100%. I don’t see how guys turn down even a million a year, let alone 10 million+ just so they can retire. That is what makes the Mike Mussina’s of this world very rare I guess.

  20. Ross in Jersey says:

    Is Bob Klapisch a Yankee hater now?


    Really? Burnett is “costing the team a chance at the pennant”? He’s “not a champion”? Did Bob forget 2009 already?

    And really, getting on Girardi because he defended Burnett in the media? Does Bob know what was said to him behind closed doors?

    I mean really, I’m no Burnett lover but that is a terrible article.

    • gc says:

      I can only imagine what Francesa will say. Or is he still “on vacation?”

      • Ross in Jersey says:

        haha, he’s back today. I love these old farts who long for the glory days of the 1970s when teams could do no wrong. They always find something to bitch about with current teams just because they’re current.

    • CS Yankee says:

      Thanks for the read…he is incorrect when he says 1) Joe shoundn’t protect his players from the media & 2) that Joe will take a hit from the players.

      The rest of the article is harsh but fitting as MSM (like Klapisch) should rip a players issues on self control and possibly correcting some of that for us fans.

      AJ has won big and lost (sometimes) bigger…I just hope at the end of the day he is more David Wells (champion gamer with vices) than Brown (pouty, self loving, lack of the limelight pitcher).

      I’m sure Cashman (who needs to protect & get a return on that investment) has had quite a few words with AJ about how he made him & the club look bad and asked him what commitment does he have that they won’t see this again.

    • Zack says:

      I don’t know if he’s a hater, he’s just an idiot. He tried to bash the Yankees in ST for not giving Jeter 100m (rip up this year, give him 25m/yearr). Too bad they didn’t do that.


    • Jorge says:

      One of my favorite differences between the current-day Yankees and that crosstown riffraff is that Girardi stands up for his players. That’s good management. As someone in an administrative position myself, you’re damn straight I can tell you what’s wrong with you, but I’m not going to let someone else do so.

      Klapisch can go write articles on Jerry Manuel if he’d like.

  21. forensicnucchem says:

    The easiest solution to making up the wins Pettitte might have given?

    Tell the offense to start scoring when Vazquez pitches…

  22. IE says:

    Mike, what do you think of David Phelps as a potential option? I realize he has had only two starts in AAA and is not on the 40 man, but the kid has pitched great all year, with excellent peripherals. Does he, in your opinion, have a higher upside than Nova?

    • Rob says:

      I was wondering this too. I know Mitre has got Saturday, most likely, but I’m failing to see how Nova > Phelps. Phelps gives up fewer hits, homeruns, walks and with more Ks. And that’s not just this year either, but their whole mL careers.

      • I know Mitre has got Saturday, most likely, but I’m failing to see how Nova > Phelps. Phelps gives up fewer hits, homeruns, walks and with more Ks. And that’s not just this year either, but their whole mL careers.

        But Nova’s done it at higher levels than Phelps has. That’s why Nova > Phelps, at least for the next month.

        • Rob says:

          “But Nova’s done it at higher levels than Phelps has.”

          Really? You mean like Nova in AAA in 2009?

          Nova’s ahead by half a season, even as he’s been with the Yankees for two years longer. The only reason he’s on the 40-man is because of the Rule 5.

          Even still, Nova has never been as good as Phelps has consistently been. Compare their mL lines.

          • Again, Rob, I’m not trying to tell you that Ivan Nova is a better prospect than David Phelps or that Ivan Nova will be a better pitcher than David Phelps 3 years from now.

            All I’m saying is, Nova’s AAA experience makes him a better potential big league spot starter for this next month than David Phelps. I’m only talking about right now. Nova’s faced better competition; Nova’s already had his big league cherry popped. Nova’s less likely to get rattled and be a deer in headlights for those reasons alone.

            • Rob says:

              Yeah, that’s a lame basis for comparison. In the same league right now, Phelps is pitching far, far better and has consistently for the last two years. The point of baseball games is to win. Phelps’ record suggests he increases those chances better than Nova – apart from any deer or other wildlife. :)

              • In the same league right now, Phelps is pitching far, far better…

                But he’s only been in that league for ONE MONTH. Nova’s been there for a year and a half already.

                … and has consistently for the last two years.

                Which were spent at lower levels against inferior competition. You can’t gloss over that fact. Phelps has looked better than Nova on the whole, but he’s done so at a far lower degree of difficulty. That’s what matters.

                • Rob says:

                  And how does the first part of Nova’s AAA record look? Or even the second part?

                  See, I’d worry if Phelps suddenly showed something this year. Except it’s been the same outstanding performance his 2 years in stripes. Nova has never shown anything close to what Phelps has done, not if we’re comparing peripherals.

    • I’m not Mike, but here’s my answer:

      The question of who has more upside between Nova and Phelps is interesting (I’d give it to Nova, but it’s very close, IMO) but not very relevant to this discussion. We’re not going to pick an Andy Pettitte one-month replacement based on upside, we’re going to pick it based on ML readiness and likelihood of being able to handle a big league lineup with a modicum of success right now.

      So Phelps remains a non-consideration, because regardless of what his upside is, there’s a good half-dozen pitchers in the system who are better bets to give us a chance to win a ballgame right now, this week, such as the aforementioned Mitre/Nova/Hirsh/Gaudin core of more veteran guys than young master David.

      • Rob says:

        Sorry, but I don’t see it. Comparing the guys in the system, Phelps has been their best pitcher at AA/AAA this year. Comparing their career numbers, Phelps is also better than Nova – clearly. Nova may have the size and stuff, but Phelps has the better results.

        Consider: Phelps has never posted a K:BB lower than 3.60. Nova has never posted a KK:BB higher than 2.37.

        • Steve H says:

          Phelps is also a college pitcher who has been older than Nova at every level. Nova has 170 AAA innings, Phelps has 17, and Nova is younger. Not saying one is better than the other, but comparing their stats is pretty flawed.

          • Rob says:

            Phelps is older by four months – that’s hardly noteworthy.

            • Steve H says:

              He’s older by 4 months and has pitched 1/10 of the AAA innings.

              That’s extremely noteworthy.

              • Rob says:

                Except Nova sucking in AAA, especially based on FIP, hardly supports your case. The Yankees rushed him for one simple reason: He was facing the Rule 5 draft and they needed to see what they had – after mediocre seasons in Low-A and High-A. You interpret the promotion as something he deserved. He clearly didn’t.

                • Steve H says:

                  So if Phelps had been rushed, wouldn’t his stats have suffered as well?

                  • Rob says:

                    Who’s to say? But he’s also been in the organization half as long as Nova. Hard to claim the Yankees haven’t rushed him. He’s never spent more than half a season at any level.

                    Phelps belongs in AAA. I fail to see how Nova has shown he’s anything other than trade bait. A career K:BB under 2 will do that.

                • The Yankees rushed him for one simple reason: He was facing the Rule 5 draft and they needed to see what they had – after mediocre seasons in Low-A and High-A.

                  Nova being added to the 40 man had nothing at all to do with Nova being promoted from AA to AAA.

                  Nothing. They’re utterly unrelated. You can add a guy to the 40 man without having to place him at a certain level of the minors, which we did for Brackman, de la Rosa, Garcia, Noesi, and countless others.

                  Nova wasn’t rushed due to R5 considerations, he was protected due to R5 considerations and promoted to a higher level thanks to the same reason: he pitched well.

                  • Rob says:

                    “he pitched well”

                    Really!? Which full season did he pitch “well”?

                    Not 2007.
                    Or 2008.
                    Or even 2009.

                    Count 2010 if you’d like, but I’d argue a 1.36 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, or a 6.8 K/9 is hardly pitching “well”.

        • Consider:

          Percentage of his career professional innings thrown that David Phelps has thrown at AAA or higher: 5.3%

          Percentage of his career professional innings thrown that Ivan Nova has thrown at AAA or higher: 32.3%

          I won’t argue with you that David Phelps has a higher upside than Ivan Nova. But Phelps just isn’t the guy to make a month’s worth of spot-starts at the big league level. He’s simply too green.

          If Mitre, Nova, Gaudin, and Hirsh all shit the bed, then maybe 3-4 weeks from now we’d consider promoting Phelps. Only then.

          • Rob says:

            Again, the color of a pitcher, or their animal spirit guide, should not be used to make these decisions.

              • Rob says:

                You’re taking about the color green and a deer on the mound as the reasons for Phelps not getting a shot. That’s BS. You know that.

                Moreover, you and Steve are both assuming Nova deserved his AAA promotion. If you look at his mL record however it’s clear he was promoted in spite of the results, not because of them. Either the Yanks promoted Nova and saw what he could give them (as trade bait) or they lost him in the Rule 5. The best possible scenario for Nova is some team overvaluing his 3.21 ERA this year.

                Unless, you want to tell me what Nova did in 2007 and 2008 to warrant a promotion to AA in 2009? Or how about his outstanding work in AAA last year? Even this year Nova is getting by with alot of runners and far too few Ks. He’s due for a major correction and in line with his career numbers. There’s nothing to see there.

  23. BigGuy says:

    Mitre’s coming off an injury and hasn’t pitched more than 2 innings, except for a rehaba game of 3 innings, since mid May. If he’s getting that next start in place of Andy it’ll kill the bullpen. I’m not a Mosely fan at all, but he was starting at SWB this year and did have 2 great starts. My choice would be Nova who’s been starting all year at SWB and is slated to pitch for them tonight. If he’s pulled from the start that will be a good indication that he’s going to get called up.

  24. dc1874 says:

    ….calling Pedro Martinez…calling Pedro..report to Yankee Stadium asap!!!!

  25. keithr says:

    SG from rlyw.net on the difference between Pettitte and Mitre:

    Think of it in terms of runs and starts. In general, 10 runs equals one win. So estimate the difference in runs between n starts of Pettitte and Mitre and divide by 10 to get the impact.

    First of all, you can’t assume that Pettitte will continue to pitch as well as he has so far this year, but let’s assume he can maintain an ERA around 4.00 for the rest of the season. Let’s also assume he’ll miss five starts, and pitch seven innings per start.

    So Pettitte would allow something like 15-16 earned runs.

    Let’s now assume Mitre can’t pitch more than five innings per start, so he’ll pitch 25 innings, and the 10 inning difference will be filled by replacement level, which I’ll label as CHP for short.

    CHP ERA is probably in the area of 5.30 in the 2010 AL, but let’s put it at 6.00.

    So 25 IP times Mitre’s expected ERA plus six runs (10 innings of CHP) = ?

    If Mitre’s ERA =

    4.50: 19 runs, = -0.3 wins
    5.00: 21 runs, = -0.5 wins
    5.50: 22 runs, = -0.7 wins
    6.00: 23 runs, = -0.9 wins

    So it may end up costing them around a win if Mitre goes Igawa on them, but it shouldn’t be much worse than that.


  26. Ross in Jersey says:

    Hey guys, Ken Rosendouche doesn’t like A-rod or the Yankees. Who didn’t see this article coming?


    God, sportswriters are so bad these days. So so bad. Thank god for blogs.

  27. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Ivan Nova, Zach McAllister and Mark Melancon for Dan Haren. That fits in the very vague “2 starters one bullpen pitcher” request.

  28. SK says:

    give andy another shot of HGH…

    /barry bonds’d

  29. Bryan says:

    Can we PLEASE just promote Ivan Nova and give him a shot?

  30. ADam says:

    I’d rather see Nova get a shot and keep Mitre in the pen, yanks need some strike throwers in the Pen will be good to see what Nova has and can offer in 6-7 starts.

    • Mr. Sparkle says:

      I agree, but doubt it. Girardi talks about Mitre as if Mitre was his son. I don’t know why, but he loves the guy. I think it’s safe to say we’re going to have to watch a somewhat serviceable (in limited action) retread instead of a potential budding prospect. You Nova fans might be lucky to see him rack up about 5 IP in late September the way the Yankees treat some of these guys.

      • steve (do) says:

        This is such a nonsense meme. Everyone flogged it when they chose Mitre over Gaudinn except guess what? Mitre has been better and cheaper. Why not wait until Mitre actually sucks before declaring his promotion over the great Ivan Nova a function of Girardi’s manlove?

    • tony c. says:

      Sounds good to me.If things don’t work out for Nova,you got Mitre.

  31. theyankeewarrior says:

    I think many are over-estimating what losing Andy Pettitte for a month will do the the Yankees.

    Andy was pitching great, but he was due to regress in the second half (he even started in the first inning). Also, who’s to say the Yankees wouldn’t have lost a few of these upcoming starts of his?

    We’re talking about 5 or 6 games here that the Yankees still very-well might win, whether it’s Mitre, Gaudin, Nova or etc.

    His turn in the rotation also happens to be vs. some poor competition (KC, CLE, etc.).

    If the Yanks blow their division lead while Andy is out, it will be because the rest of the rotation/bullpen blew it, not because Andy pulled his groin.

    Plus, aside from Nick “Elijah Price” Johnson and Aceves, this team hasn’t suffered any major injuries this season.

    Better for Andy to get hurt now rather than a week before the playoffs.

  32. B-Rando says:

    I think something thats kind of been missed on the Petitte injury is Phil Hughes’ role. Hughes has got to step up here and take on that #2/3 starter role. AJ is so unpredictable right now. Javy has been rock solid, so we need to hope he stays as is. If Mitre is our guy for Petitte’s spot, we can’t expect too much (although I’m confident he is ready to silence some of the doubters). It comes down to Hughes…If he can provide stable outings for the next month or so, they Yanks can weather this storm. However, If he falters, we could be looking at CC and Javy as the only 2 reliable starters we have.
    Just something to think about.

  33. zs190 says:

    I find it amazing how many people overestimate Ivan Nova and David Phelps. We’ve seen guys like IPK with dominating minor numbers (I think you can make a very good argument that IPK was better in the minors than Phelps and Nova) come up and pitch well in 3-4 starts late in September against call-ups then get absolutely pummeled against major league competition.

    What the Yankees need right now are bulk innings and predictability. We don’t need to roll the dice on the minor leaguers and hope to hit a homerun with this replacement. He just needs to pitch decently every 5 days for a sub (5-6 IP, 3-4 R) and Sergio Mitre is a good bet to give you that, we don’t know what we’ll get from Nova/Phelps.

    There is bordering a 0% chance for David Phelps to come up with just 3 starts in AAA, that’s why Mike didn’t list him as an option. Ivan Nova is a possibility but I think he’s the backup option here like Mike said, if something happens to Mitre and/or another long man, then he might come up.

    • There is bordering a 0% chance for David Phelps to come up with just 3 starts in AAA, that’s why Mike didn’t list him as an option. Ivan Nova is a possibility but I think he’s the backup option here like Mike said, if something happens to Mitre and/or another long man, then he might come up.


      • Rob says:

        Dumb isn’t excusable. The Yankees also decided Joba was done developing as a pitcher after 15 mL games started. To which he responded with league average numbers. So they stuck him i nthe pen.

        No one here has been able to point to an actual record as the basis for the opinion on, or promotion of, Nova. He’s trade bait. Nothing more and never has been. He puts far too many runners on base with far too few Ks. He isn’t even bullpen material.

        Phelps actually has some real upside. In spite of being rushed this year, he’s flat out dominated the opposition. I get that he’s not a “real” prospect, but he’s consistently shown he gets Ks and without giving up HRs or BBs. I’d much rather trust that performance than Nova’s “extra” innings, especially since no one can point to how he deserved them.

        • I have no idea what in my comment you’re actually responding to, and I’m jumping off this crazy train and letting you ride it all yourself.

          You’re high on David Phelps, I get it. So am I.

          But if you can’t see why a guy with only 17 innings of work at AAA would be a distant 5th option behind the likes of Mitre, Gaudin, Nova, and Hirsh–for this specific role of spot-starting while Andy Pettitte recovers from a mild groin sprain for 4-6 weeks–I don’t know what to tell you. You think Phelps is a better pitcher than Mitre, Gaudin, Nova, and Hirsh. You’re probably right. It doesn’t matter, though, because you’re talking about who’s a better pitcher in a vacuum and this conversation is about who would be better right now in the big leagues for the next month.

          You’re making the decision based solely on upside and talent potential, and you’re totally ignoring major league experience and readiness and ability to handle pitching against big leaguers for a playoff contender.

          That’s simply not how you make the decision about whom to give spot starts to on a team in contention for a World Series. It’s just not. I wish you could see that.

          Since you can’t, I’m exiting this conversation. Have fun without me.

          • Rob says:

            If you think Phelps is in the discussion for a rotation spot next year, then I see no real difference between a few starts in August and a few in April 2011.

            Nova isn’t even reliever material. Hirsh has given up 13 HRs in 90 innings this year in AAA. Sanchez has only been passable in relief. None should qualify. Nova is awful if you make any attempt to look beyond the number of innings. Actually, when has the number of innings meant anything?

            I started by saying Mitre will get the start on Saturday. But Phelps should be next on that list based on actual performance. No one else is even close.

    • phughesisgod says:

      And you cant say the same thing about Hughes? They both were terrible in early 2008! Oh and Kennedy is pitching very well for Arizona this season. Granted his ERA is 4.12, its kind of inflated because of his start on July 5. He has really only had 3 bad starts this season out of 18 starts. The rest have been pretty good. He needs to cut down on the walks, but thats about it.

  34. Tank Foster says:

    I say bring up the Scranton pitcher with the best stuff and give him 3 MLB starts.

    Maybe for one of them, you’ll get the “rookie-pitcher-nobody-has-seen” honeymoon effect, and you’ll get good results.

    After the 3 MLB starts, bring up the next best pitcher and do the same thing.

    If Andy misses 6 weeks…..maybe 38 games? That’s 7-8 starts. My reckoning of an achievable goal is to win 3 of those games, and have the starters average 4-5 innings over those starts.

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