Open Thread: The rotation begins to take shape

Setting the record straight
CC Sabathia's two-seamer and ground ball rate
(AP Photo)

Following today’s tie with the Blue Jays, Joe Girardi announced that A.J. Burnett will start the second game of the season with Phil Hughes to follow as the number three. The last two spots are still up in the air, but Freddy Garcia (6 IP, 5 R today) will get one more chance to show what he’s got before a final decision is made. Manny Banuelos will pitch on Monday, but his running mate Dellin Betances was sent to minor league camp. There’s a pretty good chance that we’ll know the identities of the four and five by Friday, and my money’s on … Bartolo Colon and Ivan Nova, but that is subject to change. By the hour.

Anyways, here is your open thread for the night. Enjoy.

Setting the record straight
CC Sabathia's two-seamer and ground ball rate
  • The Oberamtmann

    So you think that, even though Garcia *always* has bad ST’s and he was the only one of the candidates to be mildly good last year, he’s the one who’ll lose out?

  • mbonzo

    I still think Colon and Garcia get the 4 and 5 spot with Nova starting in AAA. As soon as one of them have some bad games, Nova will be in. Nova was so good in his last start its hard to count him out, but Nova will not see regular time in the majors as the 5th starter in April, and the Yankees lose depth without bringing up both the old dudes.

    • AndrewYF

      Here’s an idea, let the two guys you think are the best options start in the rotation. That way, you’ll lose fewer games.

      • RichYF

        That makes some sense, but you know very well that the 5 players that start the season in the rotation will not make it all season. If you dump Colon/Garcia for Nova early, then you are turning to Phelps/Brackman/Noesi instead of Nova when someone gets hurt. If Garcia/Colon will work out of the bullpen, then fine, take Nova north. If they won’t, it’s not the smart decision regardless of how well Nova pitches. The #5 starter is needed 6 times or so in the first 50 games, so it’s not a big deal to take Garcia and Colon over Nova.

        • AndrewYF

          The number 5 starter may not be needed, but the number 4 starter will be. If the Yankees feel Nova is a better pitcher than either Garcia or Colon (considering what we’ve heard, this is rather likely), then there WOULD be an impact, because you’re having a lesser pitcher pitch many more games.

          In any case, when was the last time we saw the Yankees fully use the off-days to limit #5’s workload? They instead often opt to give everyone an extra days rest. So it would make even less sense to put an inferior pitcher in the rotation.

          There’s something to be said for depth, but it’s not depth when you’re blocking better options from contributing to the major league team. That’s called plain stupidity.

          • RichYF

            If Nova is the #4, then it’s not a problem. I don’t put too much stock in Spring Training stats, so I don’t think he’s THAT much better than Freddy Garcia that you cut one of Garcia/Colon just to get him in the rotation. Let him go to AAA, pitch every 5th day, and then see what Garcia and Colon do. If you get 10 good starts out of Colon before his arm explodes, it’s EASILY worth it. Neither of those two will have any complaints about being the #5 whereas Nova needs the regular work.

            I have a feeling it’s not going to matter much because one of Garcia or Colon will agree to go to the bullpen so Nova will be able to start as the #4. Hopefully he takes his ST confidence and turns it into production if that’s the case.

          • steve (different one)

            In any case, when was the last time we saw the Yankees fully use the off-days to limit #5?s workload?

            2010. Phil Hughes.

            Shockingly, they were criticized for it.

      • hogsmog

        I think that the best possible option would be Garcia and Nova in the rotation, with Colon as the long man who can step in if either get hurt. I also feel like it’s feasible that Colon could make a whole season as a long man, where I feel like it would be impossible for him to make the All Star break if he started.

    • Camilo Gerardo

      do you know when the International League’s season starts? I’m curious

      • Monteroisdinero

        April 7th.

        • Rich

          Some of you make it sound like Nova is a sure thing. Let’s not forget he had a hanful of starts last year and in most saw trouble the second time through the lineup. Sure he’s got good stuff and is off to a good ST but it’s still ST. We’re all assuming he’s better than Colon and Garcia but we dont have anything to back it up with other than stats from ST.

          I said back in Feb that if Garcia and Colon show they’re not terrible and appear healthy they’ll make the team. I still stand by it. It makes a boatload more sense to keep for the time we know we’ll need him. If that’s 3 starts in, 1 start in or 10, I’d rather know we have another option ready. When was the last time a team went all season with 5 starters? Nova will get his shot this year, as will Brackman.

          Also, random thought, if Colon or Garcia move to the pen, Mitre is the odd man out. Still a loss of depth.

  • A-ROD fan

    Vote for colon

  • Ramondo

    I guess they won’t start the season 2-0! Just kidding!

  • Yankeefan91 Arod fan

    I”ll Go with colon and garcia until one of them cant pitch anymore den ill bring up nova or we let garcia be the long men and release mitre and just put nova as the 4 and colon 5 starter.

  • Mantle28

    I think it’s going to be Nova then Garcia with Colon as the long man

    • Mickey Scheister

      This, is what I’m leaning towards. I’d still LOVE to see Nova as the fourth and ManBan in the 5th spot, but thats not gonna happen in the same rotation to start the year. I’ll hold on to hope until The ManBan joins Minor Leauge Camp.

      • Camilo Gerardo

        if he does dom like no other and is called up, it would be advantageous that he went to Minor league camp and controlled his innings some

    • Yanks 4 Life

      I agree with Mantle28. Either way, I pray we get it right so our season is nothing but stellar. GO YANKS!!!!!!!!!!! Just read the GQ article w Jeter on the cover. He worked his ass off on his swing. I missed the game but hearing on fb that others said his swing was looking good.

  • Jericho Spade

    What happened to the other weekend writer, Brock Cohen? The one who mixed in a lot of satire…?

    • Kiersten

      Someone asked this last week and I think Mike said he’s busy with school or something.

  • Gonzo

    Good to see Nova getting some more votes for a spot. Feels like much more since his last start.

    As for depth, can we consider Millwood depth? As in he’ll be available if needed. LOL

    • Camilo Gerardo

      he is around .0333 of a pitcher to nyy, eh

  • long time listener

    Haven’t waited this long to figure out the identity of five people since season 3 of BattleStar Galactica.

    • First Time Caller

      Awesome, and hopefully we’ll end up better than that show did.

      • long time listener

        Really? I kind of liked the ending. It wasn’t perfect, but what series finale is? Anyway, you’re half-right: I hope the Yankees don’t give away all their money once they reach the World Series and mate with the Pirates.

        • Tom Zig

          never seen BSG, but I imagine no series finale can be more disappointing than the Sopranos or the Wire.

          • long time listener

            I’m just starting to watch The Wire, so please don’t spoil the ending for me. I used to think The Sopranos ending was terrible, but if you accept that Tony was shot in the final scene (the most convincing case is made at, the ending actually makes sense, though it’s still open to criticism. The king of disappointing endings, to me, was Seinfeld.

    • AndrewYF


  • Esteban

    Cmon SDSU! Hold my bracket together!

  • Kiersten

    Thanks to all fans in attendance at today’s Yankee game who booed Gov. Scott. Just another reason why I love Yankee fans.

    • Kiersten

      And I just realized this was sorta political. My b.

      • Esteban

        But HIGH SPEED RAIL!!!!!!!

        • Kiersten

          Yeah I’m sure that’s why he was booed.

  • Steve H

    6 innings 5 runs doesn’t sound great, but the 6 k’s, 0 BB’s and 5 hits are all good. How did Garcia look today, just a few mistakes that led to all the runs?

    • mbonzo

      Don’t know if you found out by now but he actually had 0 hits in 3 IP. He seemed to fall apart at times and look like Felix Hernandez against all those minor league hitters.

  • Pat D

    Butler just hurt my bracket a bit, but I’m sure so many other people had Pitt in the Final Four, too, so I don’t mind.

    Also in that it’s another Big East team down. So, at most, only 3 Big East teams will survive till next weekend. I’d be more than happy with Syracuse losing to Marquette, and Notre Dame better not let me down against Florida State.

  • Tom Zig

    Since no one is talking, let’s play nit-pick my fantasy draft:

    12 team league. (I had pick #10)

    Runs, HRs, RBIs, SB, Total Bases, Avg
    W, Ks, SVs, Holds, ERA, WHIP

    C: Carlos Santana
    1B: Prince Fielder
    2B: Rickie Weeks
    SS: Elvis Andrus
    3B: Evan Longoria
    OF: Corey Hart
    OF: Colby Rasmus
    OF: Andres Torres
    Util: David Ortiz
    Bench: Rajai Davis
    Bench: Matt LaPorta

    SP: Jon Lester
    SP: Josh Johnson
    SP: Brian Matusz
    SP: John Danks
    RP: Matt Thorton
    RP: Drew Storen
    RP: Leo Nunez
    RP: Ryan Franklin
    P: David Robertson
    P: Bobby Jenks
    Bench: Ricky Romero
    Bench: Jorge De la Rosa
    Bench: Derek Lowe

    • Gonzo

      Nice squad. Wish you had a player for when Weeks gets injured.

      • Tom Zig

        Yeah I’m really praying that Weeks can stay healthy. It was a risky pick, but there weren’t any worthwhile 2B available at the time.

  • Tom Zig

    So today I was on the train back from my fantasy draft, and I was thinking, hey maybe MLB should add a quality save stat.

    like a 1R ball game would be a QSv
    A save in extra innings with a 2 run lead or less
    Coming into the game before the 9th with the tying run(s) on base

    a lead of 2 or 3 runs would just be a regular save.

    Also you cannot create your own quality save opportunity.

    Maybe it’s just a dumb idea, but I’d like to hear some thoughts

    • hogsmog

      I feel like that’s sort of silly because it’s entirely out of the closer’s control. A quality start is much more concerned with what the starter himself does. Since a save is already such a situational stat, I don’t think it makes sense to make it even more so.

  • Angryankee

    Ok, ok… I’ll take the ball.

  •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

    Wow there’s an intern position in the Yankees for someone that’s into statistical analysis. Too bad I’m not old enough.

    Someone should try out though. Don’t know how better someone out of RAB can fare unless they live at FanGraphs like us.

    • mbonzo

      Got a link?

  • Nick

    Hey i’m doing an ottoneu-fangraphs fantasy league and we’re in need of more people. If anyone is interested in joining its $10 and the league name is The Platoon Advantage.

    •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

      Is it by PayPal?

      • Nick


        •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

          I’ll join if there’s a way to put money in PayPal by a debit card…

          • Nick

            That’s how I paid.

            •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

              So winner gets all?

              • Nick

                No. There are no prizes for the $10 tier. I just did it because i wanted to try out the new fantasy format. There are prize leagues but those cost more money

  • cano is the bro

    so my bracket is pretty much done….Gotta root for the Cuse!

    •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

      I put Kansas State in the Final Four…Sigh.

      • Scott

        my bracket is currently 2nd overall!

    • Pat D

      Go Marquette.

  • Dr. O

    I get the feeling AJ could have plunked 6 out of 12 batters faced and given up 6 solo shots to the rest and still been named #2 starter. He’s really been getting the kid gloves treatment since ST began, even the YES crew has been complimenting him like he’s a 4-year-old “Make-A-Wish” kid or something. Hopefully the little love fest they’re trying works, but consistency is just not AJ’s thing so I think its a lot of investment for nothing.

    • Dr. O

      6 HR’s that is. If he hit 6/12 and gave up 6 solo shots he’d clearly be some sort of wizard and would have value.

    • Jerome S.

      I have to agree. Though when you get down to it, what are you gonna do about it? Tell him he’s a sack of shit? I doubt that’ll help. AJ’s looked… better. Encouraging words never hurt. And trust me, you’ll hear nothing but cries for his head after his first bad game (and he will have one).

    • Zack

      He’s had a good ST (results, stuff, approach, etc), but you think they should do what? “Hey AJ, you suck but we’re stuck with you for 3 more years.”?

      • Dr. O

        being honest with him and saying he’s the #3 behind Hughes would do more than making him feel like he’s their 2nd best starter will, and I don’t think I said they should tell him he “sucks”. I just said its really lame that they’re going so overboard trying to coddle him. It certainly didn’t work with A-Rod and he’s a Hall Of Famer.

        He’s had an AJ spring, this is the guy he is. Most of his starts where he absolutely gets shelled are ones where he has an awful inning, is lights out for 2 innings and then implodes again. I haven’t seen anything from him this spring that I haven’t before.

    • Mike HC

      This is the hump year of his contract. So after this year, with only two years left, people in the organization will start to be far more honest about how much he sucks, if he does indeed continue to suck.

  • NJYankeeFan

    I’m a little surprised Hughes isn’t the #2 starter but I guess Girardi wants to avoid putting too much pressure on him. To think just 4 months ago it was looking like AJ was gonna be our #5 starter where he belongs coming off that debacle last year…

    • Mike HC

      There is still a decent chance he does end up being our fifth best starter by the end of the year.

  • JerseyDutch

    I’m only going to ask this one more time: Can we get Chad Gaudin back and how quickly?

  • Matthew G.

    Dang it. I have tickets to Game 2. I was expecting to see Hughes, not Burn-out.