Feb
03

Yanks still looking at pitching options?

By

They couldn’t land Cliff Lee. Nor could they swing a trade for a front of the rotation starter. Now the Yankees are stuck throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that a couple of strands stick. In the past few weeks they have added Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to a rotation competition that already included Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, David Phelps, and, perhaps, Hector Noesi and Andrew Brackman. There’s no Cliff Lee or Zack Greinke among them, but that’s not what the Yankees need. From those spots they just need a couple months of league average pitching, until they can start exploring the trade market for a true upgrade.

If the Yankees are going to take this approach, why not go all in? They’re already throwing spaghetti at the wall, so why not make it a heaping freaking bowl, full of noodles and sauce and every bit of seasoning they can find? We might not find any of the available names encouraging, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful for the Yankees’ purposes. In this way, it wasn’t surprising to see Jon Heyman mention that the Yankees are still in contact with Kevin Millwood. At this point in the off-season, with the Indians, Royals, and Orioles as his only other suitors, why wouldn’t the Yankees maintain communication? There’s no harm in bringing in another player on a minor league deal.

Heyman added a thought to his note about Millwood that pinpoints the Yankees’ biggest issue. Does maintained interest in Millwood mean they’re less optimistic about Andy Pettitte‘s prospects of playing in 2010 than they were last week? It’s certainly possible, but I’m not sure the two are necessarily related. We’ve heard varying reports regarding Pettitte’s probability of pitching, but we’ve yet to hear definitive word. Brian Cashman said last month that he’s proceeding as though Pettitte is retiring, so therefore it makes sense to continue discussing options with available pitchers. If they weren’t, they’d be acting under the assumption that Pettitte is returning.

What of Pettitte, anyway? The Yankees’ season has been over for more than three months, and he appears no closer to a decision now than he was on October 23. As it turns out, he didn’t necessarily plan to decide during the previous three months. ESPN Radio’s Ryan Ruocco recently spoke to Nolan Ryan, who has been in contact with Pettitte this winter. To quote: “Nolan also said that Andy had told him he wouldn’t decide until [February].” If he told Nolan Ryan this, he surely informed the Yankees. The difference, of course, is that Brian Cashman let that remain a private matter. In any case, with knowledge that Pettitte hadn’t intended to make a decision before now, and with spring training looming, I’m presuming we’ll hear more about this in the next week or so. That will certainly affect how the Yankees deal with the rest of the off-season.

If Pettitte does return, they need not make another move. They’ll have those seven pitchers competing for a single rotation spot, and surely they can find one serviceable starter from among that group. At that point I imagine they wouldn’t be in contact with the likes of Millwood and Jeremy Bonderman. But until they know for sure that Pettitte is returning, it is in their best interest to stay close to the remaining free agent pitchers. They might not inspire confidence, but they are simply more noodles in the bowl. The more noodles they have, the better chance they have one or two that will stick. No one particularly wants to see Kevin Millwood don the navy blue spring training uniform, but at this point there isn’t much downside to the prospect.

Categories : Pitching

27 Comments»

  1. whozat says:

    mmm…noodle bowl…

  2. Steve H says:

    I know Colon stated he was willing to pitch out of the pen if necessary, so bringing in more potential arms for the back of the rotation, even if not upgrades, just helps the depth. With Millwood, at least, you’d be guaranteed innings.

  3. The Big City of Dreams says:

    Kevin Millwood *shudders*

  4. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    This makes me feel sad………..The Yankees are in the running along with the Royals, Indians and Orioles.

  5. JGS says:

    Millwood had a weird season.

    First ten starts: 68 innings, 3.71 ERA, 1.279 WHIP, .741 OPS against, 3.05 K/BB, .307 BABIP
    Next eleven starts: 57 innings, 8.84 ERA, 2.070 WHIP, 1.008 (!!!) OPS against, 1.46 K/BB, .391 BABIP (5+ ER in 8 of the 11 starts)
    Last ten starts: 65.2 innings, 3.29 ERA, 1.264 WHIP, .689 OPS against, 1.65 K/BB, .262 BABIP

    14 quality starts overall, several of them way better than just “quality”, including 7 innings of 2-hit shutout ball against Tampa in late September when they were fighting for the division. If he’ll take a minor league deal, why the hell not?

    • LarryM.,Fl. says:

      Having watched Millwood pitch against the Yankees two or three times. I’d say he gave decent performances as my memory searches its hard drive. I’m sure that the Yanks are keeping in touch just in case Andy says, “Goodbye.”

      Millwood can keep you in games and doesn’t shudder with runners on base. If, he’s number 4 and Nova is 5 maybe his tenacity will give the kid some confidence with runners on base or 2 time through the lineup becuase AJ can’t. Hughes was getting his feet wet. Andy was hurt. CC had his hands full being the Ace with a bum knee.

  6. Andrew says:

    Ken Tremendous would love your food metaphors, Joe.

  7. bakekrukow412 says:

    May as well ask Pedro if he wants to…..on second thought, nahhhhhhh.

  8. Mike says:

    its NOT sauce !! its called GRAVY ! lol

  9. Re: Pettitte. I’m not sure how much stock to put into this, but despite Ruocco’s reporting, ESPN sources — Michael Kay — say Pettitte’s going to retire tomorrow.

  10. Tom Zig says:

    I prefer to say a different word that starts with S.

  11. Jimmy McNulty says:

    What about Chad Billingsley?

  12. Rams Bladder Cup says:

    How $#@$#@in dare anyone out there make fun of Andy after all he has been through!

    His wife and kids want him home. All you people care about is….. readers and making money off of him.

    HE’S A HUMAN! (ah! ooh!) What you don’t realize is that Andy is making you all this blog fodder and all you do is write a bunch of crap about him.

    He hasn’t performed on the big stage in 4 months. His arm is called “old reliable” for a reason because all you people want is MORE! MORE-MORE, MORE: MORE!.

    LEAVE HIM ALONE! You are lucky he even performed for you BASTARDS!
    LEAVE ANDY ALONE!…..Please.

    Perez Hilton talked about professionalism and said if Andy was a professional he would’ve pulled it off no matter what.

    Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publicly bash someone who is going through an earned lay off.

    Leave Andy Alone Please…. !
    Leave Andy Pettite alone!…right now!….I mean it.!

    Anyone that has a problem with him you deal with me, because he is enjoying his time off.

    LEAVE HIM ALONE!

    /interwebs blast from the past’d

  13. JeffG says:

    Just saw this on ESPN… sucks.

  14. theyankeewarrior says:

    God fuckin damnit

  15. Billion$Bullpen says:

    “No one particularly wants to see Kevin Millwood don the navy blue spring training uniform, but at this point there isn’t much downside to the prospect.”

    Well I do. Serviceable major league pitcher that will be able to give them 5 or 6 decent innings at least half the of time he pitches. We should have already signed him, EVEN if Andy is coming back. We have $ that is our main resource. Let us use it here. If Andy comes back we leave some of the kids in the minors for WHEN somebody sucks and WHEN somebody gets hurt because BOTH will happen at some point this year.

  16. Fair Weather Freddy says:

    Good Luck to Andy in his retirement, and thanks for many great years!!

  17. Ted Nelson says:

    Signing Millwood to a minor league deal would be nice, but if another team is offering a major league deal and the Yankees are offering the chance to compete with Freddy Garcia, Colon, Mitre, and everyone else at camp for the #5 spot… Basically, what indication do we have that Millwood, a Boras client who has thrown at least 190 innings pitching in the AL East the past 2 seasons, is looking at a minor league deal? Bonderman is reportedly looking at a major league deal.

  18. Ted Nelson says:

    On the topic of the rotation, if both CC and Burnett were to bounce back from off-years the Yankees could be looking at a 4 WAR pick up right there. That’s like adding a #2 starter to the rotation. If Hughes also takes a step forward and they combine to add 5 WAR to their 2010 total, we’re talking about adding a 2010 CC to the rotation WAR-wise.

    For the 4 seasons prior to 2010 CC averaged 6.6 WAR and AJ 3.7. Last season they were at 5.1 and 1.3 respectively. They could certainly both be on the downsides of their careers and never return to 2006-9 productivity. CC is only 30, though, so it’s not expected. At 34 and having dropped off a cliff in 2010 maybe AJ is done, but there’s a good chance he bounces back to some extent.

    There’s a lot of talk about the downside of this rotation: CC is the only real starter, Hughes’ track record is one year, Burnett was awful in 2010, Pettitte will retire, Nova is unproven and not a top prospect, Garcia is “old” (he’s 3 months older than AJ) and had a major arm injury a few years back, anyone might get hurt… etc.

    There’s also an upside, though. 2011 CC could be better than 2010 CC. 2011 AJ and Hughes could be better/healthier than 2010 Andy and Hughes. 2011 Garcia and/or Nova could both be as good as or better than 2010 AJ. Even 2011 Mitre could be as good as or better than 2010 Javy, certainly Nova or Garcia could be. The Yankees could at least get a Nova-like contribution from a Phelps/Noesi/Brackman.

  19. Juke Early says:

    Time for the NYY to learn how to bring along good homegrown SP. Phil Hughes is the only real deal since Andy & the jury is sadly still out. The Yankees Achilles heal in this extended Steinbrenner Era is they typically poach arms that get them to the Promised Land. With the exception of Andy & Mo, name one from the last 20+ years? you can’t. They need to get the new batch up one by one & let them learn by doing. AND not be afraid to lose a few while getting battle tough at the big league level. I’d put up with a losing season – maybe 2, if it yields a starting staff of four or five that wins for 5-7 years. Babying just gets you old babies. Let’s get some BB throwing BB’s instead.

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