Why would the Yankees release Mitre now?

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On his blog today, Joel Sherman discusses the pitching battles in camp. While the bulk of the post focuses on Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, there is mention towards the bottom of Sergio Mitre. For the past two years the Yankees have staged a fifth starter battle in camp, and while Mitre has competed in both he seemed more a novelty than a serious candidate. But even though he probably won’t pitch out of the rotation, he appears ticketed for the long man role in the bullpen. At least, that’s the way it appears from the outside.

Leading off the final section of his post, Sherman writes, “There are scouts saying that they are convinced the Yankees are going to release Sergio Mitre.” The evidence: Mitre just happened to suffer a vague injury just before a spotlight start against the Red Sox, and was seeming fine just a day later to the point where he could pitch again on Thursday. I’m not sure what one has to do with the other. Maybe the Yankees really wanted to start Banuelos against the Sox, but I don’t see why that says anything about Mitre’s status.

While the Yankees lack bona fides for the fourth and fifth rotation spot, they do possess depth. If they break camp with Colon and Garcia in those spots, they have Ivan Nova a phone call away at Scranton. Andrew Brackman could be right behind him. Even though they were sent to minor league camp, Hector Noesi and David Phelps could be options with a little more AAA seasoning. And, as we’ve heard from numerous scouts and scouting types this winter, the Yankees could, if they were so inclined, call on Manny Banuelos. Even Mitre himself could make starts if the Yankees aren’t comfortable with any of their minor leaguers.

Given this rich depth, chances are Mitre won’t make it through the entire season on the 25-man roster. The team will pursue starting pitching as the season progresses, and they’ll look at relief options from the farm system. It’s likely that at some point in the season they’re comfortable with 12 pitchers who are better than Mitre. But things rarely work out as planned. Mitre is no one’s idea of a mid-rotation starter, or even a viable setup man. His value is that he’s a slightly above-replacement pitcher who can fill the long-man spot in the bullpen and make a spot start if necessary. I’m not sure why the Yankees would throw that away.

If the Yankees did take Colon, Garcia, and Nova to the Bronx, they’d be down one arm on the carousel. If Colon then gets bombed, or, more likely, gets hurt, they’d move Nova into the rotation and summon a bullpen arm from AAA. But whom? Wouldn’t it be better to have Nova in that spot? Mitre would remain in the bullpen while the Yankees made that quick swap. Then, if Garcia, or even Nova, falters, they could move onto Brackman. But without Mitre they’d have to add a long man and a starter. I don’t see how that helps the team.

Maybe the Yankees really do want Nova to start the season in the major league bullpen. The sentiment is certainly understandable. But I don’t see the sense if it means releasing a guy who can provide depth. Having Mitre around, especially in a low-level bullpen role, helps the Yankees hedge against injuries or ineffectiveness from Garcia and Colon. To remove him is to bump each pitcher up a rung, which means a quicker path to a, gulp, Sidney Ponson-type retread. That’s just not something the Yanks need right now. Depth is the name of their game, and Mitre provides just that for now.

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  • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

    Isn’t Mitre the perfect guy to throw to the wolves? Up 11-1? Go to Mitre. Down 11-1? Go to Mitre. Need a spot start on short notice? Go to Mitre. Not that I think the Yankees would want to intentionally risk Mitre to injury, but he’s certainly a good guy to keep around at the back end for these type of situations, where you wouldn’t necessarily risk a more valuable piece of your team.

  • The Three Amigos

    100% right. It makes more sense to have Mitre on the 15 day DL to start the year with this “phantom” oblique injury.

  • Beamish

    If Nova were in the ML bullpen pitching 3-5 innings a week (more? less?) in relief how long would it reasonably take to stretch him back to being a starter? If they see Nova as the “sixth starter” would it no only make sense to leave him in AAA to work as a starter – and work on presenting a different look the third time through the order – then just call him up when the next starter is needed?

    It seems Nova in the bullpen is poor foresight. Or maybe I am just making too much of the stretch back to being a starter.

    • Ted Nelson

      Teams often move pitchers between the bullpen and rotation… I don’t think it would take any time because Nova would already be stretched out. I’m not saying I would or would not put in the the MLB pen, but I don’t think this is a downside.

      • pete

        how would he “already be stretched out”? You can’t just sit around throwing an inning or two here and there for two weeks and then suddenly be able to throw 6 innings without building up to it.

        • Ted Nelson

          He can throw outside of game situations, bullpens and simulated games as possible/required. Somehow other guys manage to make spot starts. Somehow other guys have pitched relief and started in the same season. He might not go 6 innings his first start, so maybe no time is inaccurate but he’d be largely stretched out. He could also go down to Scranton for a start or two in certain situations (i.e. not a sudden need, but one where the Yankees are giving Colon/Garcia/Mitre/Burnett one or two last starts before removing them from the rotation).

          Basically, if you’re counting on a guy to make spot starts and multiple inning appearances as his role on the team, you’ve got to keep him somewhat ready to start a game or enter in the 1st or 2nd inning and give you 3, 4, 5 innings.

  • Tom Zig

    co-sign all of this. Keeping Colon and Garcia in the 4 and 5 to start is the smart move. Hopefully you can get like 5+ effective starts out of each of them before they break down and/or suck

  • Monteroisdinero

    Hey the Sox had a pretty effective starter against us last night. I think his name was Aceves?

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for

      Effective against the crap lineup we threw out there..

      • NJYankeeFan

        Cashman seemed to imply he believes Aceves wouldn’t stay healthy when asked about him the other day and sounded rather confident in doing so though he wouldn’t elaborate.
        Could be he’s an injury waiting to happen. I thought he should have been kept around since he’s relatively young with upside and has pitched very well at this level before but I guess time will tell. The Yankees must know something about his medical condition to allow him to go to the Rex Sox for only $600K.

      • Big Apple

        Aceves wasn’t that sharp last night against the C lineup. He had a good line but was hit very hard..sometimes the balls are hit right at the defense and that was clearly the case last night.

        i wish aceves the best, but his numbers don’t tell the full story.

        besides…the yanks have limited spots on the roster and they needed to move on. time to get over it.

  • Costanza

    Nova should start at AAA, Mitre the long relief and run Garcia and Colon as 4 and 5 until they blow up (which should be around May 1st). Then you bring in Nova and Mitre to fill the gaps.

  • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

    I for one, do not want Ivan Nova starting the year in the bullpen. If its Garcia and Colon who win those spots, Nova should start in AAA to get consistent work. Its obvious, one or both of those guys are a ticking time bomb. Nova should be waiting in the wings in Scranton for when it finally happens.

    As for Mitre, I really dont like Mitre. Watching him pitch is almost unbearable at times. He doesnt throw strikes, all he throws are wild breaking pitches and his whole demeanor just sucks. Hes not a guy I root for. If I can, I wanna try to make a case for DJ Mitchell. First thing, hes not projected to be a long term starter. Even the RAB 30 prospects has him pegged as a “Chad Gaudin” type. Ok, well it seems like this is the role for him. Wheather its mopping up a game late or stopping the bleeding in the middle innings or even coming into for the 5th or 6th inning when a starter is at a high pitch count and isnt doing so well (pretty much everybody but CC) than he can fill all those roles. Hes a sinker ball pitcher so if anyone can get consistent outs its him. I think its inevitable this guy becomes the “Ramiro Mendoza” type of guy who pitches short relief, long relief and could even jump in and make a spot start for 4 or 5 innings ala Alfredo Aceves even. Hes a young arm with limited upside, the depth of pitching can spare a DJ Mitchell if hes a bust. Even if Mitre does start the year in the Bronx I can see them calling on a guy like Mitchell once Mitre eventually gets his era over 5. I dunno, thats a thought i’ve had. Maybe you agree, maybe you dont. Fire away.

    • Ted Nelson

      “Nova should be waiting in the wings in Scranton for when it finally happens.”

      Most teams keep a “long-man” stretched out in the majors… Nova could be waiting in the wings in the Bronx too.

      DJ Mitchell *may* end up in this role eventually, but he’s not there yet and the Yankees certainly don’t seem to think he is. There’s absolutely no guarantee that Mitchell will ever be better than Mitre (Mitre’s also a sinker-ball pitcher, so not sure why that separates Mitchell from him), let alone in 2011. I think there are several guys ahead of him in-line for the role.

      “I think its inevitable this guy becomes the “Ramiro Mendoza” type of guy”

      Not necessarily on the Yankees… Mendoza and especially Aceves were actually good MLB pitchers. Mitchell may be eventually, but it’s certainly not inevitable. Brackman, Phelps, Noesi, Nova, Warren, etc. are all considered better long-term prospects than Mitchell, so I think they’re more likely to end up as a good long-man than Mitchell if they are not good enough to start. It’s possible he does, but not inevitable.

      • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

        Yea, inevitable was the wrong word. What I meant to say is hes gunna be given the oppurtunity at this role. Not that hes gunna keep it or even prevail as a major leaguer, so that was my mistake. I dont really see Brackman getting this role until theyre absolutley sure that hes not gunna cut it as a starter. This is definetley one of the guys they should make a commitment to making into a starter and if hes a bullpen guy, hes a bullpen guy. it is what it is. If he comes up this year and pitches well he could be valuable trade bait if Banuelos or Betances or even both have a shot at making the rotation next offseason.

        • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

          Also, by having Nova in the pen. Are you just waiting for pitchers to implode early in the game? I dunno, if your gunna have Nova in the pen it seems like its taking away a spot in the pen cause I doubt theyd spring to use him often and hed just be sitting down there. Hed start every 5th day in Scranton and already be stretched out. Who really cares if you abuse Sergio Mitre? I dont mean that like I want them to intentionally injure the guy, just ya know. Throw him out there whenever

          • Ted Nelson

            He’d have roughly the same role in the pen as Mitre; however, the Yankees might be more willing to use him in higher leverage situations or give him a spot start (Mitre only started 3 games last season, while Moseley started 9 and Javy started 26… maybe with Nova they cut those others out of the rotation sooner than they did with Mitre). You can also throw bullpen sessions on the side or simulated games, or even go down to Scranton for a start if an opening is anticipated far enough in advance (i.e. we’ll give Colon/Garcia/Burnett one last start and if he doesn’t get it together he’s done).

            You basically need a long-man in your bullpen, so this would not be a waste of a bullpen spot. It’s not only when starts implode (and Colon, Burnett, Garcia, or Nova himself all stand to implode occasionally), it can also be when you’re up 11-1 or down 11-1 with a few innings left.

            “I dont mean that like I want them to intentionally injure the guy, just ya know. Throw him out there whenever”

            Why is using a long-man intentionally injuring a guy? That’s a normal part of the game. Mitre got a total of 54 innings last season… is the injury risk in 54 innings really that great that you’d rather carry a worse pitcher? What makes those 54 innings so injury prone and allows CC to throw 200 innings without getting hurt?

            • pete

              What makes those 54 innings so injury prone and allows CC to throw 200 innings without getting hurt?

              irregularity.

              • Ted Nelson

                Yeah, I see that point. I would have to see evidence that long-men and swing-men get hurt at a higher rate than starters or relievers, though, to totally buy it. With this rotation there’s a lot of uncertainty 3-5 (if possible might be nice to break-up the rotation a bit for that reason) and you might need your long-man quite a bit. I think in general, though, the Yankees would try to keep a Nova, for example, on a fairly regular schedule even as a long-man. Teams have definitely managed to employ young guys as long-men/swing-men successfully before transitioning them into the rotation.

        • Ted Nelson

          My point is just that Mitchell may not be ready for this role in 2011, and that there are other guys he has to beat out for it whether it’s 2011, 2012… whenever. Not all the Yankees’ P prospects more highly regarded than Mitchell will be MLB starters but some might be closer to it than Mitchell. Or they might have more than 5 capable starters but no reason to trade the 6th guy.

          You assume that pitching in AAA is more valuable for a young pitcher than pitching in a MLB bullpen. I’m not saying it’s less valuable (and would really say it depends on the situation), but there’s no conclusive evidence it’s more valuable. Look back through baseball history at all the successful (HOF even) starters who started their career either partially or entirely in the bullpen (I give a very partial list in a response to you below… check out these guys and others at baseball-reference.com)… it’s a VERY long list. If a guy is MLB ready but not ready to start or you don’t have a rotation spot, relief work can be a good way to get him a taste of the majors and maybe your team some good innings.

          • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

            Yea I hear ya, Mitchell probably isnt ready. But, he is still in camp with them to this point, so. Who knows. If he finishes the spring strong and they do wanna cut Mitre then I guess they have a guy who could step up and take that spot, given he has the ability to do so. My whole point to bringing Mitchell into the discussion is that as far as the depth/potential of starter chart goes. Mitchell would be at the bottom. So from that standpoint for the long man I’d go from the bottom up. The top guys being given a legit oppurtunity of being a starter. Unless a Josh Johnson or Felix Hernandez miraculously become available midway through, I dont see Cashman parting with Banuelos, Betances, Brackman, Montero or any of those guys. Would it break my heart to see Phelps or Warren or Noesi go to like the White Sox for say Mark Burhele or Edwin Jackson(I am not being specific just genalizing)? No it wouldnt but those guys certainly arent worth any of the elite guys we’ve got. So yea, assuming that Mitchell can succeed at the major league level I’d take a shot with him.

            As far as injuring guys, I just meant they’d be more inclined to using Mitre for more innings than a young guy they’ve got potential hope for. Lets face it, the longman guy is the mop up guy for the most part but if they can get him to be more of a “jack of all trades” long relief, middle relief, spot start? That only strengthens their bullpen. If Soriano is unavailable for instance, you just slide back Joba into the 8th or Robertson into the 8th or even if Mo is unavailable, Soriano becomes the closer. You can use said longman, whoever that may be for like the 5th or 6th inning given a situation where the SP has a high pitch count is just ineffective that day. I also wasnt saying Mitchell will “inevitably” be as good as Mendoza just that if he is ever with the big club his role will be that. Once again, my mistake. Bad choice of words.

            • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

              I was also kind of just inquiring wheather Mitchell was ready not so much that he definetley was. I was more focused on making the point that if he was ready for the bigs that he’d be an intruging piece to have in the bullpen opposed to Sergio Mitre who your not really gunna wanna turn to unless you absolutley have to. So with all that, I lost the whole reason for bringing it up and made it seem like I knew for fact he was ready.

            • Ted Nelson

              “Mitchell would be at the bottom. So from that standpoint for the long man I’d go from the bottom up.”

              See, I would not. Assuming Mitchell is at the bottom–and I don’t know that he is to open the season–why do you want the worst pitcher on your team? You really think it’s that valuable to have all of Brackman/Banuelos/Betances/Noesi/Phelps/Warren/Stoneburner… in a minor league rotation that one of those guys can’t get a shot as a swing-man or long-man? Especially considering not one of those guys has yet faced a MLB hitter in a real game?

              “The top guys being given a legit oppurtunity of being a starter.”

              I’m getting REALLY tired of repeating this, but using a guy out of the pen when you first call him up (or even for a few years) does not mean he’s not getting a legit shot at starting. Please look at your baseball history and stop repeating this incorrect point.

              “So yea, assuming that Mitchell can succeed at the major league level I’d take a shot with him.”

              That’s a huge assumption, though. You yourself are calling him the worst of the Yankees upper minors starting prospects… If he can succeed in the majors I guess you assume the Yankees have like 7 guys who will succeed as MLB starters in their system… 7 for 7 with a successful long-man too, that’s incredible.
              I’m not saying Mitchell can’t be successful, I’m just wondering why he’s a successful MLB pitcher and all the other guys either aren’t or are exclusively starters every appearance of their entire careers.

              “I just meant they’d be more inclined to using Mitre for more innings than a young guy they’ve got potential hope for.”

              Why are you using a guy you don’t like and have no hope for more innings than a guy you do like and have hope for? A swing-man or long-man job is a great way to get someone MLB experience.

              “Lets face it, the longman guy is the mop up guy for the most part but if they can get him to be more of a “jack of all trades” long relief, middle relief, spot start? That only strengthens their bullpen.”

              No. Mendoza made 40 starts over 3 seasons. Aceves pitched 84 innings in 2009. The last guy doesn’t have to be a mop-up only guy. If you put what you describe as their worst upper level starting prospect in that role… you are increasing the odds of that relative to putting a better pitcher in that role.
              Yes. That would add value. It would add even more value if you didn’t “go to the bottom first.”

              “I also wasnt saying Mitchell will “inevitably” be as good as Mendoza just that if he is ever with the big club his role will be that.”

              It’s not just Mendoza, though. Mitchell may not be as good as Mitre, Nova, Brackman, Phelps, Noesi, Banuelos, or Betances either. Then again, he might be. I just don’t get why you’re only considering Mitchell and ruling out the others out of some false sense that the only way to develop starters is in the minors.

              • Ted Nelson

                “I just don’t get why you’re only considering Mitchell and ruling out the others out of some false sense that the only way to develop starters is in the minors.”

                Of course, the Yankees have somewhat ruled out several of them and to open the season Nova and Brackman may be the only real candidates (along with Garcia, Colon, and Mitre of course) to open with the team.

                • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

                  I understand all your points but what I meant as bottom of the depth chart, out of the Bs Warren Phelps Noesi Stoneburner all those guys I think Mitchell doesnt project to be in the rotation cause they dont ever see him as being a starter. Leaving all those other guys to work on becoming starters in the minors is what I meant. Obviously theres worse guys then Mitchell but I meant as far as that “class” of guys given his expectations with he’d be the best arm to fill that role, for now. Not long term. For now. Obviously ALL of these guys arent gunna be starters for the NY Yankees in the future, guys are gunna get traded. moved to the bullpen or just be busts. I get that. I never meant Mitchell was the worst just that his stuff at this point and time isnt gunna translate to being the longman (Given hes ready of course) especially when all of these guys are ahead of him on the depth chart. I am leaving work, good talkin to you man have a nice night.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    I understand your point. I disagree because I don’t see coming up and pitching out of the pen as particularly detrimental to a young pitcher’s long-term development under the right circumstances. If you really are rushing a guy or overusing him… sure. That would be detrimental. If a guy has done well in AAA (or even AA sometimes… but probably rarely) and your braintrust doesn’t feel like he has anything more to gain in the minors but can’t start on your team (whether he’s not ready or you have 5 starters)… then I think there is a long history of bringing guys up as swing-men or relievers to wade into the MLB waters rather than jumping right in with guaranteed rotation spots.

    • Deli

      I really don’t understand the vitriol toward Mitre. If you look up his numbers last year, his WHIP is better than that of all the returning pitchers, other than Mo. His ERA is also one of the lowest and his walk rate is actually slightly better than even CC’s. He gives up a HR every 8 or so innings and he gets a lot of ground balls. He is not a strike out pitcher, only about 5 per 9, but does strike out almost 2 for every BB. His numbers would even be better if not for one bad outing vs Detroit where he gave up 7 runs (out of the 23 allowed all year). I’m not saying Mitre is the greatest pitcher or that he should be a starter, but based on 2010, I think we can tone down the negative rhetoric at least until we see if 2010 was a fluke or if he is able to repeat those numbers. If his numbers balloon again and the ERA tops 5 as you suggest, then have at it, he should be replaced. And by the way, I root for all players in a Yankee uniform.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t have a (non-performance based) problem with Mitre, but in pointing to his WHIP and ERA across 54 innings last season you are ignoring that he has a career .312 BABIP and was at .226 last season (.204 as a reliever). On his career Mitre’s WHIP is 1.5 and his ERA is 5.27…

        “I think we can tone down the negative rhetoric at least until we see if 2010 was a fluke”

        Maybe it wasn’t and he really got a LOT better at 29, but based on his career performance all signs point to that being a fluke. Before last season his ERA was never below 4.65 and his WHIP was never below 1.4 for a season.

  • Mike HC

    How much is Mitre making this year? Maybe the Yanks don’t want to pay for the loser of the Garcia, Colon, Mitre battle, when a minor leaguer could just as easily fill that role. Who knows though?

    • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

      Thats also very true. Mitres not making crazy money but hes definetley making more than a DJ Mitchell or Eric Wordekemper or Ryan Pope even but Pope is short relief guy

    • Ed

      Mitre makes about $900k. If they cut him now, his termination pay is around $250k. If they replace him with a minor league player, he’ll make $400k. They’d only end up saving around $250k, so I can’t see money coming into the picture.

      • Mike HC

        Yea, if that is the case, then the money would seem to be pretty much a non factor. This is such a minor move I can’t even continue to speculate on it. Mitre kind of blows. Keep him as last man on the roster, or don’t, who cares.

  • Andy

    Why? Easy. They have much more talented guys who can do a better job. I am all for keeping depth, but not at the expense of having inferior players playing over superior players. You admit that he is replacement level – the Yanks can easily replace him, if not from the system (Nova, Brackman, Noesi, Phelps, Mitchell, Warren, Betances, Banuelos, Stoneburner – and that’s just starters, not getting into the minor league bullpen depth), then in a trade, or hell, even signing a guy like him who was jettisoned by another team.

    Plus, having him on the roster hurts their flexibility in terms of bringing up bullpen pieces from the minors, since he has no options. Simple fact is, if they think Nova would be superior in the pen, then Nova should be the guy.

    • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

      Heres the thing though. If Nova goes to the pen to start the year than in May or June or hell even April when Colon or Garcia do get hurt or suck beyond the point of putting them out there. Do you turn to Brackman? or Noesi? or even a David Phelps or Adam Warren? You kinda lessen the depth chart abit by starting Nova in the pen.

      • Andy

        That is exactly what you do. Those guys at least have potential, and you have to get them some experience at some point anyway. You have numerous high end (especially for a measley middle relief role) prospects in AAA and AA – why keep a guy who is what he is – bad? And again, even if the guys in the minors don’t work out, there are plenty of other options outside the organization – this team made the playoffs with Aaron Small, Shawn Chacon, Sidney Onson, Chad Gaudin (off waivers on WS team) etc. in the past, you can always get another one of these guys.

        If this was any other organization, there’d be no debate – that’s what you have young, cheap arms for. It is time to play the kids, there are enough of them even the mighty Yanks can roll the dice.

        • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

          Yea thats what I was saying, I couldnt tell if you were agreeing. Wheather it be Mitchell or someone else I dont really think theres a reason to keep Mitre around. Hes had every oppurtunity to succeed on this team and he never has. You could strike gold who knows.

          • Andy

            Exactly!

  • Bronx Chica

    I agree with the sentiment. Colon/Garcia with Nova waiting in the wings, working on stamina. Colon/Garcia should give good starts until one of their wheels falls off.

    Me thinks this Mitre “Phantom injury” coincides with Joba’s same “Phantom Injury” and Mark Prior’s “phantom under the weather symptoms” to create an emergency “we need to go to Banuelos” to see how the kid handles the pressure. Mitre, Joba & Mark are the main veterans of the night, who suddenly couldn’t make it. also guessing, they made Mark’s a sickness so as not to pile onto his past injuries or else he too would have had the same “phantom injury”. lol

    • Mike HC

      Not sure about all the phantom injuries, but you could be on to something when it comes to Banuelos. The Yanks might have wanted to showcase him against the Sox to boost his hype and value around the league, and to excite Yankee fans about the future of the rotation (even though the game was blacked out in NY, ha). And if it was intentional, then I think it worked.

      • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

        Its definetley possible that they wanted to see what Banuelos’ composure would be like against the “big bad sox” but I really cant imagine that the Yanks have much confidence in Mitre at this point. Lets be honest, once the season starts for the MLB and the MILB everyones gunna be waiting to see which starter breaks down 1st and with the depth of pitching that we got, whos gunna be the 1st to get the call to take the rotation spot. We all know this is not what the Yankees team is gunna look like by say, August. If they havent gotten anything solid out of Nova/Brackman/Warren/Noesi/Phelps then I can see them rolling the dice with Banuelos or Betances if theyve reached AAA already. If not than they’ll probably hit the panic button and make a trade for someone on the market. I am mostly looking forward to seeing which young gun gets the 1st shot. I think it should be Nova, hence why he should start in AAA. Followed by him, depending on how well Brackmans year is going Id say him or Noesi once again depending on how well hes doing in Scranton

        • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

          lol my whole point to that was, theres like 6 or 7 other guys that are probably gunna be ahead of Mitre for getting that rotation spot and like 4 or 5 other guys in favor of getting the bullpen spot cause theyre younger and nobody knows how theyre gunna produce at the MLB level. At this point we all know what Mitre is. Hes certainly no prospect.

        • Mike HC

          Yea, not much else the Yanks can do. Look for desirable trades, and/or empty the minors until you find a decent arm. Whether they want to call up a 20 year old Banuelos is completely up to them, but he pretty clearly has the stuff.

          • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

            Without a doubt. You dont wanna rush him or Betances though. I would honestly give him a year in the minors, Betances too. I really have a bad feeling that the Yankees are gunna make the same Joba mistake with Betances cause hes a hard throwing righty and the appeal to put him in the pen is intense. Especially later in the season with him already on the 40 man in the event that Robertson or Joba or even Soriano have to take a trip to the DL

            • Mike HC

              Sounds about right to me. I can easily see Betances going the way of Joba, ha.

            • Ted Nelson

              Again, there’s no clear cut case that moving prospects through the minors quickly is “rushing” them. I can list dozens of HOFers and All-Stars who were rushed through the minors and did fine. Every prospect has a different development path.

              A lot of scouts think Betances is a long-term reliever anyway… more of a thrower than a pitcher and an injury risk. If he ends up in the bullpen it doesn’t necessarily mean the Yankees made a mistake. If he’s a top flight reliever that’s still a valuable asset and means he made it. Just like Joba being in the bullpen doesn’t necessarily mean the Yankees made a mistake, same with Mo, Soriano, Billy Wagner, Papelbon, etc. That’s long-term. If he ends up in the pen short-term there’s no reason to call it a mistake: go to baseball-reference.com and look up Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, David Wells, Kenny Rogers, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Fernando Valenzuela, Adam Wainwright… There are dozens more, but that should be plenty.

              • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

                Absolutley, a guy who throws as hard as he does and has the body of him does project to be a reliever but if you can make him into a starter it just ups his value. Wasnt saying it was a failure if hes a reliever. If he turns out to be a reliever than thats great too but I think with the stuff hes got, you should take every oppurtunity to make him into a starter and minor league seasoning should help that.

                • Ted Nelson

                  I personally agree that Betances needs more time in the minors. I’m more talking about a late season call-up in 2011 or 2012 as a reliever, or maybe even a full or partial season in 2012, 2013, or 2014 as a reliever… and the possibility that reliever is at the end of the day his best case scenario because he can’t start or can’t stay healthy as a starter.

  • Banks

    I LOVE that Sidney Ponson is the posterchild for dog-shit retreads.

  • JMS

    Edited by RAB: Off-topic

    • JMS

      C’mon. You’re going to do that with that comment sitting right above me? Rules is rules I guess.

      • Tom Zig

        Smokey, this is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.

        • radnom

          YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR ELEMENT DONNY

  • Gonzo

    I can’t believe Colon might be the 5th starter. I am so against that. How do you show up for a job interview grossly underprepared like Colon did when he was 40 lbs overweight?

    Please tell me Nova is the 5th man. Please, please, please.

    • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

      Honestly man, I am no fan of Colon trust me. But if you can get 2 or 3 decent starts out of him to begin the year you might as well ride it until he does inevitably flame out and Nova comes up to take his spot. He wont stick around long. Its no risk and all reward. If he has a bounce back year than good for him but were all already expecting him to fail and waiting to see which prospect arm steps up 1st to take his spot.

    • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

      When CC was a free agent, was his meeting with Cashman not a job interview? He was overweight and got $161 million. Colon got a non-guaranteed what, $850k? Would you be against having him in the rotation if he earns the spot, just because he’s hefty? And, as far as unprepared goes, you probably couldn’t be more wrong. He pitched this winter in preparation, unlike most guys.

    • Banks

      The problem is, the Yankees signed him knowing that he was overweight. Its not like he signed while in shape in November, then showed up to camp fat. If the Yanks can coax 4 or 5 decent starts out of him its a success. Plus, this way Joba has a partner for the buffett.

  • Ted Nelson

    I definitely see the depth logic, and I think Mitre probably isn’t cut before the season starts. Everyone thinks Girardi likes him, they kept him around all last season, and he actually got really lucky last season and had a great ERA in relief (awful in 3 starts).

    However, *if* the Yankees think they’ve already got several better options than Mitre then I can see why they’d just cut him now. Let’s say they feel several of Garcia, Colon, Nova, Brackman, Pope, Noesi, Phelps, Warren, Banuelos, Betances, etc. are all better than Mitre today. Say that they would not feel comfortable giving Mitre a spot start or any high leverage innings (they started Moseley over him last season… and Mitre was just awful in his 3 starts)… *If* this is the case I don’t see why you keep him around just to have bad depth you don’t want to use. You can still use a better pitcher in those 11-1 blow-outs, but also use him occasionally if/when Colon/Garcia/Burnett/Nova gives you a 2-4 inning outing and you’re still somewhat in the game or right in the game. Or when you’re in extra innings and all your other arms are used.

    • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

      The sceneario I can mostly see is Garcia/Colon in the rotation. Mitre as the longman. Nova starts in AAA and then theres all those other guys trying to impress in AAA till they got the shot to take any of those 3 jobs. Not so much the long relief for Brackman or Warren. The last thing I wanna see is one of these guys go to the pen and then we have another Joba situation on our hands.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, I also agree with the consensus that Garcia/Colon or maybe Nova are in the rotation and Mitre is the long-man. However, this assumes the Yankees like Mitre at least somewhat. If they feel like he’s useless and they have a bunch of guys who are better… why are they keeping him? That was my whole point. I put if in ** twice for that reason.

        “The last thing I wanna see is one of these guys go to the pen and then we have another Joba situation on our hands.”

        I’ve been arguing this for weeks now, but there are tons of good starters who started out as relievers or long-men. Instead of a “Joba situation” we could end up with a Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Nolan Ryan, Kenny Rogers, David Wells, Adam Wainwright, Steve Carlton, Brandon Morrow, CJ Wilson, Neftali Feliz, etc., etc., etc. situation. If you look at your baseball history you’ll see why this is not a concern you should have. Joba could end up back in the rotation (in NYY or elsewhere) as others have after multiple seasons in relief (starting for the same team or a new one) or he could follow the Mariano Rivera’s, Billy Wagner’s, Papelbon’s, Soriano’s, etc. who came up as starters only to spend their careers in relief.

        Also, this assumes Brackman and Warren (and Noesi and Phelps and Banuelos and Betances) are good enough to be successful MLB starters. Certainly not assured. Especially not in 2011. Working in one or more of that group as a swing-man or long-man or one inning reliever at some point in 2011 might be the best way.

        • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

          No yea I totally get that. I am not saying if your starter you cant be reliever or if your a reliever you cant be starter. I am just saying the way Joba was handled, shows me that the Yankees arent very smooth at making that transistion. Joba, should of been put back in the pen a long long time ago. This back and forth game they played with him was not the right thing to do. Its killed his confidence, his value and his performance has suffered because of it. This offseason, given the rotation dilema they had (forcing them to go take flyers out on Garcia and Colon) they should of told Joba get in shape. Were gunna give you another shot at the rotation in spring because of the depth we have the pen. If Joba was the 8th inning guy all along I dont think they would of had this problem. but thats just my opinion.

          • Ted Nelson

            I think that’s speculation and premature hindsight. No matter what you do you’ll have people second guessing you if it doesn’t work out. You argue that they should have put him in the pen earlier, but others argue they never should have taken him out of the rotation. Yankees were making what they thought were the best rotations in the moment.

            In this case we don’t even know how it will work out. David Wells and Kenny Rogers were relievers till 28. Curt Schilling transitioned to the rotation at 25. Heck, Andrew Brackman is only 2.5 months younger than Joba and hasn’t thrown an MLB inning yet, but is still considered a top 100 prospect by most. The book on Joba is far from written. Maybe the Yankees screwed up, but maybe not. I don’t think his confidence was that shaky in August or September.

            • Ted Nelson

              “I am just saying the way Joba was handled, shows me that the Yankees arent very smooth at making that transistion.”

              How about the way Phil Hughes was handled? One example doesn’t prove a rule.

            • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

              Well, if they can get it right I am all for it. I think from this point on Jobas a reliever. If he had any shot to be a starter again it was this spring training and the Yankees didnt offer it to him. So, lets hope he embraces the role and succeeds in it.

              • http://myspace.com/bksmalls Smallz

                Yea thats true, Hughes has worked out. I didnt agree some of those skipped starts though, seemed to screw with his rythm abit

                • Ted Nelson

                  Short-term… Long-term it may have saved him from missing a season or ruining his career with an injury. It may not have, but I agree with the Yankees that it’s better safe than sorry in that case. Also (theoretically) better than him reaching a limit/hitting a wall and being shut down for the playoffs (granted he stunk in 2 starts against the Rangers… so in hindsight maybe not).

                  I think you’re taking a pretty short-term view with these guys. They’re in their mid-20s. Lots of time.

              • Ted Nelson

                “Well, if they can get it right I am all for it.”

                They can do everything 100% perfect and still have most of these guys not succeed at all. That’s just how it is with prospects.

                “I think from this point on Jobas a reliever.”

                Again, he’s 25 and only in his 2nd season as a fulltime reliever. Look at guys like CJ Wilson, Kenny Rogers, David Wells, Brandon Morrow, Curt Schilling… He could still make a transition at some point. He also could be a reliever for the rest of his career. At 25 deciding he’s a reliever forever is just silly, though.

  • A.D.

    Only reason to cut Mitre is if you need that 40 man spot, and they thus would mean Man-Ban was making the team out of camp, which I don’t think is going to happen

    • A.D.

      Assuming the 2 empty spots (I believe 2 empty) go to Garcia and Colon, and figure Reegie Corona is still there to be released

    • http://washingtonplantation.com Tom in Georgia

      Isn’t Chavez also on a minor league contract?

      • Kevin

        Yeah, but Chavez can have the spot vacated by placing Marte on the 60 man DL.
        The last player to be added the 40 man is the backup C (assumed to be Montero). They’ll probably get this spot from DFAing the out of options last fat Sanchez.
        OR if Mitre is “hurt” they could DFA Corona and keep Sanchez around as the last man out of the bullpen for a few weeks. By the time Mitre is ready to come back Bartolo Colon will probably be gone.

      • http://toolzofignorance.blogspot.com/ Dave

        I’d love yo see Chavez on the bench. He is ready to be a bench player and can teach some of the younger guys. We have a lot of young in fielders and Chavez could be a nice mentor and good bat and may stay healthy on a part time playing basis.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      They have 2 open spots on the 40-man after returning Fish and Turpen.

      • 28 this year

        one of those spots is probably going to Montero right? Plus, Corona, i think, is still on there and Marte still needs to be moved to the 60 Day. Spots is a nonissue.

      • http://washingtonplantation.com Tom in Georgia

        Colon, Garcia, Chavez, makes three, Montero makes four. I don’t know about Nunez. Sure, you can DL some guys, but why wait?

  • NJYankeeFan

    Mitre has 0.3 WAR in 2 years with the Yankees. They could replace him with someone off the street and it wouldn’t make a difference. I would have no problem filling the long relief/spot starter role with the loser of the Garcia/Colon/Nova group and there’s still plenty of young guys in AAA who can fill the role later in the year should someone falter. All things being equal, I’d rather go with the young guy with upside.

  • http://toolzofignorance.blogspot.com/ Dave

    Mitre is terrible! And now he’s hurt too! Ship him off or let him hold the long reliever spot till we can call Banuelos up! I think Nova is going to have a great year and Garcia or Colon will be decent. Burnett looks like he’s back on track. We’ll be fine!