Mar
12

A Push for Nova to the Rotation

By

See you in the bigs, Supernova. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

I think Ivan Nova should be in the rotation. At the beginning of Spring Training, I was just sort of hoping for him because of the prospect hugger in me (though I would trade ManBan for Felix, for the record!), but the more I see of him, the more I like the notion of him breaking camp as the fourth or fifth starter. Anyone notice that during the offseason, all we talk about is being excited about not having to talk about pitching, and then we just keep talking about it? What can you say, it’s a hot-button issue. Joe reviewed the fourth and fifth starters yesterday, but I’d like to talk specifically about Nova and why the rotation is right for him.

First off, it’s important to note that Nova still has two remaining minor league options, so even if he starts with the big club, it’s easy as pie to ship him over to Scranton to work on his stuff. If Nova goes up and down more than once in a season, it still only uses up one option. If he stinks in April and we send him down, and then we need him in June, that’s not a problem at all. Additionally, if our rotation problem resolves itself somewhere between the 2011 and the 2012 seasons, the options are there if we need to move Nova around to rework the back end of our rotation. Maybe it’s a bit early for projections, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a Ryan Dempster-Manny Banuelos  combination for 4-5 in 2012 and Nova as the longman or stewing in Triple-A in case of injury. Excuse me while I get a little ahead of myself.

Another thing is, out of the three possibilities (I refuse to believe Mitre will get the job with everyone doing this well), Nova’s token problem can be patched the easiest. That’s not to say that fixing Nova’s issues will be easy, but between Colon’s diminished stuff, Garcia’s injury history, and Nova’s inability to get through a lineup twice, I’d take Nova’s problem. This decision is even easier to make based on the extremely high potential of our bullpen. Needing the bullpen to go five innings every five days isn’t something you want, of course, but in the worst-cast scenario, it’s hardly the most terrible thing that could happen. If Nova goes out there and gives us 120 pretty good IP (30 starts at 4 innings a piece), it’s still better than Garcia pitching in four games and blowing out his shoulder again, or Colon doing his best Sidney Ponson imitation.

Now, a lot of these things could be covered just as well by Nova working out of the bullpen as a longman or other relief role. By sticking him in the bullpen, we minimize the damage he could potentially cause, we give him major league experience, and we take advantage of his major league stuff. While I can see the good side of this, I personally don’t think it’s the way to go. There’s no way to say if shifting a pitcher between the bullpen and the rotation actually messes with them, but I’d rather not take that chance. I’d be more comfortable with Nova in the bullpen if I knew that the Yankees had absolutely tried as hard as they could to fit him into the rotation. Some players, obviously, are going to be relievers all their lives. Some players are just not cut out for the rotation. But Nova’s proven that he at least has starter potential, and I don’t know if his seven starts in 2010 count as ‘tried as hard as they could.’ For Nova to not be in the rotation right off the bat should only be the result of a bad Spring Training (not happening) or a total meltdown, rather than the general mediocrity we saw out of him in his first year.

Additionally, Nova pitching those starting innings might give other clubs some (more) ideas about him; the Nova-as-a-trade-chip angle is not a new one. I’m pretty sure that no one is interested for trading for Bartolo Colon, though perhaps signing him to a bloated contract will catch Tony Reagins’ eye. Garcia is equally unappealing for other clubs. If the Yankees pump Nova up as a starter, his trade value could pull in a better haul than if he’s performing as a longman. The hype machine is obviously not as important as winning, but if Nova is just as good as Garcia or Colon, there’s no reason not to use him, if nothing else than to pump up his trade value.

This decision would be easier if, straight out of the Spring Training gate, two pitchers had performed stunningly and one had fallen by the wayside. This isn’t the case, so we’re left looking at all our options and trying to figure out the pros and cons of each one. In the end, my Yankees rotation has Nova and Garcia, with Colon in the bullpen in case one of our actual starters goes down with an injury. If nothing else, it gives us a reason to keep an eye on Spring Training games besides all our awesome prospects and Jorge Posada turning double plays at first base.

Categories : Pitching

91 Comments»

  1. pete says:

    I (respectfully) wholeheartedly disagree. With Colon and Garcia, you don’t have the option of sending them down and letting them “stew”. I’d much rather try let Nova get on a roll down in AAA while Colon and Garcia pitch until they can’t. Based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s no reason to believe that Nova would pitch markedly better than Colon for however long Colon survives.

    The Garcia/Colon set-up makes Nova the 6th starter, Mitre the 7th, and then whoever’s throwing the best out of Brackman/Warren/Noesi/Phelps. Opening the season with Nova in the 5th spot effectively takes Colon off the team, meaning that if Nova bombs (perfectly possible), you’ve got Mitre as your 6th, and the other guys competing for an inevitably necessary 7th spot.

    In other words, starting Nova in the rotation basically pushes everybody else up about a month, which could make a big difference for guys who are still developing.

  2. We’ve got Colon and Garcia for nothing. Pitch them until their arms fall off, or they prove they can’t cut it, then bring Nova back up after a few AAA starts.

  3. Sabermetrically Challenged says:

    Ryan dempster? Really? That spot will be occupied by either yu darvish or another prospect by next year

    • Plank says:

      I really hope they go hard after Darvish.

      http://www.japaneseballplayers.....d=ydarvish

      • Pounder says:

        With the Japan disaster unfolding before our eyes, Yu Darish will become available soon.Real soon.

        • Plank says:

          The only similarity between DiceK and Darvish is that they were born in the same country. Randy Johnson and Kyle Farnsworth were born in the same country, but I wouldn’t make an assumption about one based on the results of the other.

          • Preston says:

            The similarity between DiceK and Darvish is what you have to do to acquire them. DiceK obviously has the ability to be a quality major league starter. But for whatever reason; work ethic, health, inconsistent mechanics, he hasn’t been that consistently. It’s pretty obvious that Darvish has a lot of ability. But there are differences between Japan and MLB and so there is more risk than in signing a FA who’s proven to be productive here (which can be a pretty risky endeavor in it’s own right). So if you have to invest a 50 million dollar posting fee and then sign him to a contract with an eight figure AAV. That’s a lot to risk. I think the upside of Darvish is worth it. But I won’t be crushed if we decide to invest our resources more prudently.

            • Plank says:

              Yeah, $100M is a lot for any pitcher. I don’t think he will get quite that much, but I think he would be worth it. I’ve seen him pitch in Japan and he is the real deal. He’s 25 next season and he’s been a beast his entire career. It would be like getting King Felix as a free agent.

              • Zack says:

                I’ve seen him pitch in Japan and he is the real deal.

                Haven’t heard that before.

                • Plank says:

                  I presume that’s sarcasm. You’re saying that because everyone that sees him says he’s incredibly good that it’s not the case? If he had mixed reviews, you would be more confident in his ability?

                  • Zack says:

                    I’m saying I don’t trust scouting reports from Japanese pitchers. And it’s not about them, it’s about the people scouting and reporting.

          • pete says:

            the similarity is not just that they were born in the same country, it’s that they pitched in the same country, and were signed on the basis of zero experience against major league hitters. In the past decade we’ve seen Hideki Matsui and Ichiro be successful offensive players in the majors, and they went from being Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb over there to being, well, Hideki Matsui and Ichiro over here.

            Would I be incredibly excited about Yu Darvish the prospect? Sure. Would I spend $100m on a guy who has never faced MLB caliber competition? I mean for crying out loud, look at what Chapman got. Darvish may be good, but he’s not a 6’5 lefty with a consistently 98+ mph fastball

            • Plank says:

              He’s a 6’5″ righty with a 97 mph fastball that has gotten up to 100mph and 5 other pitches that he throws effectively. He’s also 24, so while most pitchers his age are facing AA or AAA, he’s been pitching in NPB since he was 18 and dominating.

              Also, is there anything wrong with Ichiro’s production in MLB? He has been arguably the best RF since he joined the league. Some years there are better RF than him, but over the last 10 years, he has consistently been among the best. That Matsui guy was pretty good for a while, too.

  4. Steve H says:

    I want Nova starting, but in AAA. If he’s in the big league rotation on Opening Day, you lose the depth a Garcia or Colon can bring. If then Nova sucks, you’re screwed, because you’re reaching deeper and bringing up a guy with no major league experience, or putting Mitre in the rotation. Not to mention, what if Garcia and Colon are pitching ok, but one of the other 3 guys in the rotation gets hurt? I’d like Nova to stay in that depth/reserve spot for now. He hasn’t shown enough that the Yankees will suffer greatly without him in the rotation, so they might as well keep all of the depth around they can, and the easiest way to do that is Nova to Scranton. Scranton till the Strech part deux?

  5. ZZ says:

    Nice post. Bartolo Colon is not getting in the way of Nova making the rotation. Too many Yankee fans are making too much of this competition just like they did last year.

    Nova is simply a better pitcher than Colon at this point of each of their careers and he has significantly more upside. The Yankees will take the better pitcher, barring injury which is basically why Colon is here.

    You don’t mess around with Colon just to have depth or go with this idea that you ride Colon until he can’t go anymore. At that point you are already several if not many games in a hole. The Yankees are not dropping Colon if they chose him for the 5th spot after one or two bad starts. It would take something like a month.

    Nova will be in the rotation and all those starts he gets in April and May in the major leagues while he is working with Larry Rothschild will be very beneficial later in the season during the playoff race.

    Finally, people may want to wait a couple more weeks before deciding Colon is some type of solution. Getting too caught up in early spring training work.

    • Steve H says:

      Nova is simply a better pitcher than Colon at this point of each of their careers

      Based on what exactly?

    • steve (different one) says:

      Agree with the final sentence. It is perfectly plausible that Colon’s effectiveness is an early ST mirage. Very true.

      That said, if Colon does continue to pitch as he has, the Yanks absolutely might break camp with him. And it would be a very reasonable move.

      If Nova blows them away, sure, they would sacrifice the “depth” for the better pitcher. But if it continues to be a 3 horse race, Nova will most likely be the odd man out.

      It’s not a big deal. Nova WILL be starting games in the Bronx this year at some point.

      • Steve H says:

        If Nova blows them away, sure, they would sacrifice the “depth” for the better pitcher. But if it continues to be a 3 horse race, Nova will most likely be the odd man out.

        It’s not a big deal. Nova WILL be starting games in the Bronx this year at some point.

        Completely agree. If you think Colon/Garcia can give you 80-90% of what Nova can give you (or more), you have to sacrifice a little effectiveness for that extra depth. If you don’t keep Nova around, the dropoff is big in terms of experience if a starter either gets hurt or is ineffective.

  6. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    The biggest negative to your scenario is that it costs the Yankees depth.

    Colon and Garcia can become free agents if they don’t make the club out of ST. If all three continue to pitch as they have so far, it almost forces the Yanks to send Nova to Scranton to start the season.

    As soon as Colon/Garcia gets injured or starts to suck, Nova gets the call.

  7. dsss says:

    I basically agree with the other comments above that Nova starts out in AAA. I know his basic minor league stats, but don’t know much deeper about his pitching in the past.

    Did he have trouble getting through rosters in the minors? Did he not rely enough on his peripheral pitches when he was called up last year, and were they ineffective? Did all this cause him to be too predictable?
    I don’t have these answers, but I think these are the questions we need to be looking at, and not our feelings and hopes.

    • dsss says:

      If we can get a handle on the answers to these type of questions, we would then get an idea if he is just a long man or if he needs work in AAA.

  8. Yardisiak says:

    At some point the Yankees have to allow their prospects to take thier lumps at the big league level. They can’t keep picking a Martin or a Colon over a Nova and Montero. We have a good #4/5 prospect who appears ready in Nova. His ceiling and long term cost make him a fr more attractive option then Colon. As far as the depth point is concerned, the Yankees have legitimate options in AAA(brackman,noesi, Mitchell, phelps). So why block the chance for cheaper long term options with a low upside, more expensive, and less flexible short term “fix”?

    • Steve H says:

      the Yankees have legitimate options in AAA(brackman,noesi, Mitchell, phelps).

      Combined major league innings: 0

      I don’t think you can call them legitimate major league options for a team thats intent is to contend for a title. If you let Colon or Garcia go, and CC/Hughes/Burnett goes down, you want both Nova and one of those 4 guys in the rotation? I don’t. We all remember how it went with Hughes and Kennedy in the rotation and Joba in reserve, and those guys collectively were light years ahead of the Nova/Brackman/Noesi/Mitchell/Phelps group.

      • Yardisiak says:

        Greater chance to contribute – kids with talent or a 37 year old who hasn’t been useful since 2005? The odds of one of those kids being a positive contributor is just as great as Colon, so why choose the old guy with low upside?

        • Plank says:

          “so why choose the old guy with low upside?”

          I agree, I’m uneasy with the idea of Colon being in the rotation, but the logic in choosing him over Nova is that if Colon is chosen, Nova can be stuck in AAA, but if Nova is chosen, Colon is gone for good.

          • Yardisiak says:

            Is that a bad thing?

            Colon 2006-2009 5.18 ERA, 1.506 WHIP, not exactly irreplaceable.

            • Plank says:

              He’s been okay in ST, I can’t see it hurting to start the year with him. If he sucks after 3 starts, you can just dump him then.

              • Gonzo says:

                ST results mean almost nothing.

                Unless you mean his stuff has been ok. By that I will say, Nova’s stuff has been better.

                • Plank says:

                  Spring training isn’t over and I haven’t seen either pitcher enough (or have the knowhow) to determine who looks better, but just looking at Pitcher A, who can be sent down to the minors and brought up at any time versus Pitcher B who will be gone if he doesn’t start the year with the big league club, taking pitcher B makes more sense if everything else is equal.

                  • Gonzo says:

                    Yeah, Pitcher B sounds like a hot commodity! Is that why he said he would work out of the bullpen? He’s beating GM’s of with a stick!

                    • Plank says:

                      I said “if everything else is equal” it makes more sense to choose player B. I see you ignored that so you could make your point. If you put Colon in the bullpen then you are in the same pickle with Mitre getting cut.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      I am saying all things are not equal. What are you saying?

                      Also, I implied Colon might accept a minor league assignment. In that case, you don’t lose him.

                    • Plank says:

                      I’m saying halfway through spring training isn’t enough time to determine who is the better pitcher. All of spring training probably isn’t enough time either. You act like you are confident that you know who is superior, but how can you if the coaching staff isn’t even sure?

                      Also, why are your posts so confrontational? There is no need for your tone. Go for a run or something.

                      Has Colon given any indication that he would rather pitch for Scranton than a major league club? I highly doubt that. The way he’s been pitching, he can stick as some team’s 5th starter.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      My bad. I don’t mean to come off like that. Thanks for pointing it out.

                      The bottom line for me is that you don’t need just ST to make a decision. You can use 2010 also.

                      My point about Colon saying he would go to the pen was to imply he doesn’t have suitors for a 5th starter position. Would his agent want him to say that publicly if hey had a GM offering a MLB contract?

                      I just don’t think Colon is different than a scrap heap pitcher right now.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      Also, I am on my phone at the DMV, so that might have something to do with it.

                    • Plank says:

                      haha, no worries man.

            • Plank says:

              Ivan Nova is a pretty good pitcher, but he hasn’t forced the Yankees to put him in the rotation by blowing the competition out of the water. In 2 years, there will be no debate that he’s the best of the current pitchers vying for the spot, but in 2011, it’s not as cut and dry.

              If he was head and shoulders above the other prospective rotation guys, there wouldn’t be a debate.

      • Gonzo says:

        By the way, KLaw and Badler consider ManBan a rotation option right now. KLaw even used the Jason Heyward situation last year as a similarity.

        • Urban says:

          I saw that, yet I’ve yet to see them address the workload increase ManBan will face. Klaw has been an advocate of not burning out young arms, and of not having your pitchers experience a massive innings/pitch count increase early on. Yet by supporting ManBan as a rotation option right now, he’s doing just that. ManBan has never pitched more 109 innings in pro ball, and only 64 innings last year. Having him hold down one of the five rotation slots means he’d be up in the 170+ innings range, and the better he is, the more innings they will use him. It’s just the way it is.

          • Gonzo says:

            I think someone pointed out that including azl and playoffs, he has ~108 ip last year. He could go 150 ip this year.

  9. detroit_yankee says:

    I have to disagree with Nova to the rotation.

    It makes less sense to me for Nova to begin at the ML Club level when what he needs is the development of a third pitch and consistency (control) in the zone – both of which should be his focus at the AAA level.

    If (IF) he can develop the third pitch and establish more control then he should be better prepared for getting through a lineup the second/third time.

    As well, there is no reason to burn out the bullpen in April/May.

    Garcia and Colon cost us nothing but cash IIRC and please correct me if I’m wrong but the team can cut bait on them at anytime if either or both flame out and it still costs us nothing but cash.

    Even losing one of Colon or Garcia, means the team needs to limp to the trade deadline with Mitre. Great scenario? No. Likely scenario? Yes. In which case, the need for Nova (or others) to accelerate their development at the AAA level is more important.

    And, middle-best case, Colon/Garcia get us to the trade deadline, at which time any number of interesting things could happen.

  10. Mike Myers says:

    Is everyone forgetting that we play to win the game?

    Who gives us a better chance to win. Fat man colon or Ivan “worlds most russian sounding name for a non russian” Nova. I go Nova any day.

  11. Gonzo says:

    I can’t believe people are making cases for Colon!

    Good article Hannah. I agree. Play your best 25 and 5 for the rotation. I can’t imagine that includes Colon in the rotation.

    I can’t believe people can say start Colon even if he’s a lesser pitcher than Nova. Leave nothing for the trip back, I always say. Go hard or go home. What next, start your worst pitcher in game 1′s?

    • Pasqua says:

      The case for Colon doesn’t involve anything long-term. Most pro-Colon arguments have to do with the idea that there’s nothing wrong with seeing if there is anything left. If it is quickly apparent that there is not, he’s gone and Nova is in. On the off-chance that Colon is serviceable, then you ride the wave while Nova pitches plenty in AAA (as opposed to Colon who is gone for good should he not be on the team…which, I understand, is not a bad thing in the great scheme of things, but he’s here now, so why ignore him?).

      And, for argument’s sake, I would also just add, that Nova is no lock for a performance upgrade. We still have no evidence that he can work through a batting order multiple times at the Big League level. If he had shown that ability last year, then he’d have a spot locked-up. I fully expect that he will (eventually) but I still see someone like Colon as a safeguard to buy Nova that much more time to “season.”

      • Gonzo says:

        Some arguments were based on the assumption that Colon is still a better option even if he is the lesser pitcher.

        Seeing what he has left is fine for ST. Going with your best is for the season. People are acting as if Colon will get a 5mm deal once he is cut. ST results mean very little, and other than the oft cited fact that he is throwing 94 mph, Colon hasn’t shown plus stuff.

        Play your best. If you are arguing Colon is your best for the 5th, that’s a you issue.

        • Urban says:

          That’s a “you issue?” What the hell does that mean.

          If it’s determined that Colon is the better option, then go with Colon. Perhaps we’re in agreement on that, but seems to me that you’re implying that Nova is clearly better. Maybe he is, maybe he’s not, which is why Colon is in play.

          • Gonzo says:

            I agree that was a bit harsh. I just don’t think Colon is in play. An invite to ST doesn’t mean he’s in play. I don’t think he is a better option than Nova. I think it’s pretty clear too. I could be wrong.

            • Urban says:

              I’m not really convinced Colon is going to stick, and I certainly want to believe Nova is a better option. For all we know, the Yankees have already decided Nova will make the rotation, and the “competition” is no such thing, anymore than it was last year. Colon might have been brought into camp as a backup to Garcia.

              I don’t think anyone should assume Colon has anything locked. We are only just now getting to the interesting part of Spring Training. Split squads have officially ended, and players/teams have been playing themselves into form for a couple of weeks. Second-tier players are now being cut, or sent to minor league camp. In other words, the level of competition is going to be much higher and a lot of decisions will be made over the final two weeks. If Nova pitches well and Colon does not, there’s almost no chance of Colon making the rotation.

  12. RollingWave says:

    Kyle Farnsworth is a better pitcher than CC Sabathia the best pitcha eva! because he’s in better awesome shape

  13. RollingWave says:

    If Colon leaves because he doesn’t make the rotation and Nova proceed to bomb, they could always just sign Sidney Ponson and give him a tan.

    • Gonzo says:

      Colon is on record saying he is fine with a long-man role.

      What if everyone bombs? What then? Let’s start worse players so they won’t leave. Good business!

  14. keith says:

    I thought this was a Yankee news/opinion/analysis site, what’s with all the “we” stuff??? Really diminishes your credibility…

    • Mr. Sparkle says:

      Good point…unless she’s actually on the Yankees. I didn’t notice her name on the roster though.

    • Botz says:

      The weekend writers have been very disappointing so far. I’m going to stop checking in here on Saturdays and Sundays.

      • Slugger27 says:

        ive been pretty critical of hannah and brock’s pieces (stephen is fantastic) but this is definitely one of the better ones. its a) about the yankees/baseball, and b) generates discussion

        i dont agree with the conclusion, but this type of piece is why i come to RAB

    • Slugger27 says:

      dude, who cares

      • keith says:

        If Mike Lupica or Ken Davidoff used ‘we’ when referring to the Yankees would you still not care? Objectiveness is necessary if you dont want to look like a typical fanboy site.

        • Slugger27 says:

          their jobs are totally different.. he’s paid to report news unbiasedly… this is a blog, and clearly everyone here is a yankees fan. RAB doesn’t advertise objectivity, and the site’s following doesnt stem from it

          i see your point, but its a nitpick that doesnt warrant criticsm

          • keith says:

            I completely disagree. None of the regular RAB contributors write in this style, there is a reason for that. It comes off as juvenile and undermines any real points tha author is trying to make.

            • Pasqua says:

              Really? The guys may not use “we” on a regular basis, but objectivity is not their concern (nor should it be). Yes, RAB is more balanced in regard to complimentary and critical coverage of the Yanks than any fan site I’ve ever read, but the allegiance of this blog is clear in every piece posted.

              And another thing that separates this site from most? Coherent and fluid writing styles. The fact that this site is written by intelligent people is enough for me to forgive a few “royal we’s.” :)

  15. MStezano says:

    there’s something to be said for comebacks… I say give the spot to Colon unless he falls apart in the next couple of weeks. he has the experience edge. if he sucks, you have nova ready to go. if nova starts in AAA and pitches absolutely lights out, then he’ll earn his way back up. it could be a good motivator and would help his development if he starts at AAA. I think he needs to prove he can get through 5,6 and even 7 innings. Colon isn’t going to give up 10 runs a game (I hope). our offense can carry a spotty 5th starter for a little while. I don’t see colon lasting all the way until the trade deadline though.

    also, think of all the colon related headlines the NY Post will come up with. it’s a comedy gold mine!

  16. MStezano says:

    “Colon Solidifies Back End” – see? there’s one already

    “Colon: “I Ran Out of Gas!” – these really write themselves

    • NJYankeeFan says:

      If he acts up in the clubhouse, they can right: “Colon-cancer in the Yankee clubhouse”

      and after they release him:”Yankees undergo a Colectomy”

  17. YankeeJosh says:

    I understand the argument for keeping Colon. It gives the Yankees more options should stuff happen. Still, Colon doesn’t strike me as a great option regardless. If Nova out-pitches him in Spring Training he should get the rotation spot. Let’s not forget that Nova has a better MLB track record recently than Colon. Plus more upside.

    I won’t lose sleep over it either way but judging on the information we have, I think the best rotation for the Yankees now is with Nova and Garcia. Winning games in what could be a very tight AL East is more important than not making a move to avoid losing an old out of shape pitcher like Colon, imo.

  18. NJYankeeFan says:

    This debate is pretty much moot because there’s probably a 90% chance that if the Yankees start the season with Colon and Garcia in the rotation, at least one of them will pitch themself out of the rotation by mid May. Let Nova get rolling in AAA for a month before he assumes a spot in the rotation.
    I mean have you taken a look at Colon? It would be a miracle if he could even average 5 innings a start. He’d be lucky if he doesn’t drop dead of a heart attack walking off the mound.

    • Preston says:

      I would say that there is more like a 99.9% chance that one of the elders flames out. But I’m not sure which one it is. Colon and Garcia have both looked sharp in spring. But pitching in the regular season is different. Keeping both around increases our chances that one of them sticks. And the kids aren’t going anywhere. They’ll be a short drive away in Scranton when we need them. It’s not like Nova doesn’t have things to work on. It’s a lot easier to refine and gain confidence in your change-up in AAA than in the majors.

  19. Urban says:

    Although this is a repeat of what’s been said, if the Yankees decide to go with their young arms at the start and let Colon and/or Garcia to leave without tossing an inning, they’ve burned through part of their depth without ever using it. There are no options on Garcia and Colon, but there is on Nova and the other young arms.

    We all know there is no way Garcia and Colon are going to be starting 30+ games each, and that the other three members of the rotation won’t miss starts. We’ll be seeing lots of Nova and the other young arms throughout 2011, and hopefully one, or a few, really impress.

  20. Yardisiak says:

    To me it is about upside- The best case with Colon is a full season of mediocrity while the best case with Nova is a cheap long term rotation option. Invest for the long term and get rid of roster filler which is all Colon is.

    • whozat says:

      You act like the 25 man roster is set on april first for the whole year. Ivan Nova will absolutely start a number of games for the Yankees in 2011. The odds are that he will arrive at some point and the only way he will leave is by getting hurt or sucking. The point is to put the team in a position where they are not relying on Nova AND Mitre in the rotation at the same time.

      It’s like you folks don’t remember 2008. Hughes and Kennedy were both better than Nova. They went with the young kids who had upside…and one got hurt and one sucked, and they had NO ONE behind them.

    • Mr. Sparkle says:

      If Nova isn’t ready, he’s no better an option than a mediocre Colon. The difference is Nova is young and can start in the minors to improve himself. Colon no longer has that luxury. If he stinks, it’s because he’s officially “done.”

      Don’t be fooled by a young pitcher who had a decent September followed by a decent Spring. There have been plenty of those that eventually flamed out or simply weren’t yet ready.

      I’d also argue the best case with Colon is a “full season of mediocrity.” The best case, technically, is a successful, full season where he wins 20 games.

    • Plank says:

      Certainly not probable, but I think Colon’s upside is considerably higher than mediocre. He won the Cy Young award so he had the chops to pitch at the highest level. In my opinion, he’s not going to do it again, and it’s not realistic to think he do it, but I would put his upside as a league average innings eater. That’s better than mediocre.

  21. Mr. Sparkle says:

    If Nova goes out there and gives us 120 pretty good IP (30 starts at 4 innings a piece), it’s still better than Garcia pitching in four games and blowing out his shoulder again, or Colon doing his best Sidney Ponson imitation.

    I couldn’t disagree more. If the best Nova can do is manage four innings per start, that would mean he’s not pitching very well. No way is any manager keeping a guy in the rotation with a pitch count designed to only last about four innings per start, so that wouldn’t be the reason his starts are so short. That math can only translate into short, ineffective outings. You accept that for emergency and spot starters, such as when, for some reason, Mitre or another reliever might have to get a rare start. You can’t accept that every five days. Especially when your four AND five slots are big question marks.

    In fact, I have to disagree with the entire premise of the post which seems to favor Nova simply because the other options are older with injury histories…not performance. Here’s why Nova should get the rotation spot…he pitches well in Spring Training and EARNS IT. If they determine he needs more polishing AND Colon and Garcia look strong enough, it makes much more sense to start the season by rolling the dice with them while Nova builds strength and confidence in the minors. As you noted, should anything go wrong and Nova shows he deserves it at AAA, bring him up and cut loose the weak link. I think most people will agree with that strategy.

    • Yeah I’m with Mr. Sparkle (and just about everyone else I think) on this one.

      This post really presents a false choice. You’re not deciding between 120 pretty good IP from Nova or 4 games from Garcia or Colon sucking. If you go with Garcia and he happens to only last 4 games, then you still get your 120 IP from Nova. Same with Colon… If you go with him and he can’t hack it, then voila, hello Mr. Nova, again.

      And I’m not sure in what universe we’re getting “120 pretty good IP (30 starts at 4 innings a piece)” from Nova. That’s just an unrealistic scenario. If Nova’s lasting 4 IP/start, then those 4 IP are in all likelihood not “pretty good.” There’s gotta be a reason he’s only lasting 4 IP in that scenario, no? I’d think that reason would be a lack of quality.

      None of this is meant to criticize Nova, I just don’t buy the scenario/reasoning presented in this post. As others have noted, if the Yanks decide that Nova’s just ready for MLB at this point and is worth more than the depth-play of keeping him at AAA or even in the ‘pen at this point and letting the other SP options try to carry the load for a while, then he’ll be in the MLB rotation. If they’re not so sure yet and think they can get some quality IP out of the other options while keeping Nova in the background and adding to their depth while letting him work on his craft a bit, I’d think they’d go with the other guys before Nova.

    • Pasqua says:

      Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.

  22. camilo Gerardo says:

    regardless of teh veteran depth phenomena, they should bring up the 25 best players. period. period

  23. M-Three says:

    Nova should be in the rotation over Colon because he has more upside and he also on the 40 man roster. All of you care way to much about having “depth” than having the guy who is the better pitcher. Everyone knows what Colon and Mitre are by now and theres no need to waste our time those two. Plus, Colon is a guy that the Yankees have boomed around Yankee Stadium on a consistent basis in the past, if we brought him north imagine what the AL East will do to him there. This kid Nova is ready and its time to give him a chance. All of you bitch about Joba not starting (which he shouldn’t but thats another story) but now you don’t want to give another young gun a chance. Oh what, because it will sacrific our “depth”? Nova has better stuff and is more likely to stay healthy. As I said you all care way to much about that and not enough about taking the better talent.

  24. CS Yankee says:

    I think both positions are over-blown…
    1) Colon is old & fat & won’t last
    He is throwing low-90′s with an improvved C/U…Pena is big on him & he started the first ST game because his arm was the most seasoned.

    1A) Garcia is old & oft-injured & won’t last
    His velocity is already where it peaked last year & he has said this is the best he felt in March in 3-4 years.

    2) Nova is needed in AAA for depth
    While that is somewhat the case, the depth at AAA & AA likely hasn’t been better whereas Brackman, Noesi, Phelps can all go nearly 200 & Warren & the other two B’s will likely be ready for a promotion this year.

    Mitre is the long relief (he hasn’t had a ST start & Joe has said he has a role). Garcia (4SP)& Colon (5SP) with Nova (AAA1SP) make sense, however Nova might regress after being touted as the #4 SP & doing fairly well late 2010.

    They should pick the best two come March 30th to win games in April & May realizing that they have decent options when compared to ’08 (shortfall from too many unprovens) if needed due to injury, etc. If it means that they cut a vet…oh, well they have depth in the minors and a likely upcoming June trade. However, all things equal if Nova doesn’t seperate himself from Colon or Garcia and prooves he is a better choice put his ass in SWB.

  25. Yardisiak says:

    By sending Nova down you are just delaying his major league growth. Kennedy and Hughes both dominating the minors and needed to take their lumps in the majors for them to see the holes in their game. Why delay Nova’s learning for a retread like Colon who isn’t even out pitching him?

    • Pasqua says:

      There’s an option to be weighed here: What is more important? Nova’s “major league growth,” or Nova’s growth as a pitcher? In my opinion, his MLB growth is a smaller part of the whole (his growth a pitcher in general). I’d rather see Nova thrive in an environment in which he will continue to learn how to pitch. I think it stands to reson that, the better a pitcher he is when he comes to the Bigs to stay, the more quickly he will grow as a major leaguer.

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