Sherman: Yankees leaning towards demoting Nova for Hughes


Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees are “leaning strongly toward” sending Ivan Nova to Triple-A Scranton when they are ready to activate Phil Hughes off the disabled list. It’s not fair, but it’s the right move. It will allow Nova to remain stretched out as a starter should the Yankees need him again at some point, which they certainly will. Let Brian Gordon and Sergio Mitre soak up the irregular garbage time innings in the Bronx while Ivan (and the soon-to-be demoted Hector Noesi) pitch substantial innings on a regular schedule in the minors.

Categories : Asides, Pitching


  1. CC's third leg says:

    hopefully nova can improve his control/command and his ability to throw that cutter/hard slider

  2. Diony says:

    is Hughes close to ready?

    • zs190 says:

      Not fully stretched out yet but that’s what the minor league rehab start on Monday (either Scranton or Trenton) is for. His stuff looked ready, good velocity, solid curveball, held it for 60-70 pitches before tiring in the last inning or so.

    • Jimmy says:

      Who cares? He’s a relief pitcher and their bullpen has been just fine.

  3. first time lawng time says:

    I don’t think it is the right move. Especially since there is mo guarantee that Hughes will be any better than he was the second half of last year.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      we’ll see how it plays out hopefully it’s for the best.

    • whozat says:

      And the right move would be…? There are never any guarantees. There are many reasons to expect Hughes to be better than Nova in the short, and reasons to think he can be a very good pitcher long term. Sure, there are also concerns that he might bust — the same as with any young pitcher — but it’s important to both the near and long term success of the team that they establish Hughes in the rotation, or figure out that he’ll never be the pitcher they need.

      I could see an argument for putting Nova in the pen as a short reliever, because I think he could be good in that role, but Soriano’s coming back soon, so…that makes the starting pitcher depth more important.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Plus if Hughes and Colon and all the starters roll while the bullpen struggles… they can still call up Nova as a reliever later on.

        • Jimmy says:

          What makes you think Hughes will “roll”?

          • DavidS says:

            I think demoting nova is crazy, his era is not much different than Hughes last year

            • AC says:

              If Hughes is ready bring him up. Who else u wanna demote? It’s Nova bc nobody expected Colon to pitch this good. Keep Nova starting in AAA it’s a waste to just put him in bullpen.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Did you read what I wrote at all? I said *if*. *If* the starters roll and Nova is not needed as a starter, at some point they might be able to use him out of the pen later.

            The fact that they might not roll is exactly why Nova may be sent to AAA as a starter. So that he’s ready to start when needed.

    • CP says:

      Especially since there is mo guarantee that Hughes will be any better than he was the second half of last year.

      Which is exactly why it’s the right move. If Hughes struggles, then you still have Nova in AAA as an option to start. Any other (realistic) move would lead to the Yankees losing a player and/or needing to shift someone from the pen to the rotation to cover for Hughes.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Agreed. They are not cutting Nova. They’re putting him in AAA exactly as a back-up plan. If they did it with, say, Garcia… they’d have to cut him.

  4. Bavarian Yankee says:

    I also think it’s the right move. Nova has done a good job but I personally believe that he’ll never be more than a #5 starter for the Yanks in the future. Let’s be honest: it’s likely that his value will never be higher than it is now and trading him + others for a better starter could be a smart move. That’s just my opinion though.

    • CC's third leg says:

      Then they might as well DFA him and let a team like the pirates make good use of him

    • CMP says:

      Nova needs to miss more bats to become more than a 4/5 starter. Either developing an above average change up, cutter, slider, splitter, whatever but he can do that at AAA without costing the Yanks any games so for the long run, this is a good move.

      Ideally going into the playoffs, I’d like to see CC, Colon and Hughes pitching well and I could live with AJ starting one game per series.

  5. vinny-b says:

    no. It is NOT the right move. You don’t reward performance (in particular a young starting pitcher) with a demotion to AAA.

    the right move would be a 6-man rotation. At least until the verdict is out on Phil Hughes. or the next injury..


    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      I say that you should always reward the guy who comes to Spring Traing out of shape.


    • Ted Nelson says:

      What kind of performance are we talking about? A good one, or a 4.4 FIP one? Pretty sure it’s a 4.4 FIP one.

    • gcx302 says:

      Vinny–B Agreed- NOT the right move. No matter what others say on this forum – Nova can be a good 4 or 5 starter and has earned his keep. He is continuing to improve (albeit with lots of help from his catcher at times…).

      Bet you if another 25 teams were in this situation – Nova would be staying in the rotation for 24 or all 25 teams.

      As long as CC and AJ get to start every 5th day – there is no harm in playing around with the rest of the staff in a 6 pitcher rotation for a while at least – to see how Hughes does.

  6. Yardisiak says:

    Once again the Yanks pick the old geezer with no upside(Garcia) over a kid who could possibly turn into a long term asset. Nova has been ok, stick with him and maybe he becomes a good back of the rotation starter. Combine the long term value with the fairly insignificant difference between him and Garcia now and this move is short sighted and just plain wrong.

    The only reason to do this is for depth but if you release Mitre, move Garcia into garbage time and you retain the depth. There is really no rational explanation for choosing Garcia over Nova.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      No rational explanation, really? Garcia’s outpitched Nova all year long. They’re sending him to Triple-A, not Siberia.

      • CP says:

        Didn’t you hear?

        The Yankees new AAA affiliate is the Siberian Gulag’s of the Russian Penal League.

      • Yardisiak says:

        Out pitched? Slightly….
        Nova – 4.20 xfip, 5.01 k/9, 1.47 whip
        Garcia – 4.18 xfip, 5.93 k/p, 1.31
        It comes down to upside not just long term but this season as well. Garcia has pretty much done as well as you could ever hoped and has an injury history(only one year since 2006 with more then 15 starts), while Nova has progressivley improved. Thank Freddy for holding down the fort but choose the long term asset, not the journeyman with no upside.

        • CP says:

          Worst case is that Nova spends half the season in AAA. How is that such a bad thing? He’s only 24.

          Now, if the Yankees release Garcia and then Hughes comes back as the same pitcher he was in April (or Colon blows up), then what do they do?

        • Prof. Plum in the Library says:

          This year, Nova has gained valuable major league experience. Now, let’s let him work on getting better through experimentation at AAA, rather than sticking to his current tried-and-true formula which has resulted in mediocre results. He can’t mix in new pitches in the majors without taking the chance of blowing games that actually matter. If he builds on his major league experience with some improvement at AAA, possibly he can become a #2-3 guy rather than continuing at the #5 level.

        • GearCity says:

          Here’s the thing though: in Garcia’s case, I don’t really care about the peripherals. This might actually be a case where I prefer traditional stats. The reasoning? We don’t care about Garcia’s long-term potential because we know he is essentially a band-aid. So, in his case, wins and losses, you could argue, are the only thing that matters. Do I care if his FIP suggests that his actual performance will regress to normal? Not really.

          Now in Nova’s case we can learn a lot about his improvement from the more advanced numbers. But with Garcia, it’s all about the immediate results.


    • CC's third leg says:

      this is the difference between a team like the yankees and any other team. the A’s stuck it out with Gio and it payed off. the astros also look good waiting for wandy, and whaddaya know; IPK is having a fuckin party. FUCK CASHMAN

  7. Bob Michaels says:

    Utter nonsense, stick with Nova.

  8. M-Three says:

    This is so stupid if it happens. How can you send down a kid who is 2nd on the team in wins? Nova has really improved since the beginning of the season and now they want to sent him down.

    This just show that the Yankees don’t care about winning that they are going to waste 2 roster spots on Mitre and Gordon. There gonna send down 2 young pitchers who have pitched well yet keep 2 journeymen who throw trash at best.

    • Jimmy says:

      No, it shows they don’t have a clue when it comes to developing pitchers. They simply don’t.

      Trade bait all around.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        So they should have stuck him in the pen? They don’t know how to develop starters because they did stick Hughes and Joba in the pen AND because they won’t stick Nova in the pen? Interesting theory.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Eh… Wins are a team stat, not an individual stat.

      What it shows is that the Yankees do care about winning. They are not “giving up on Nova.” They are sending him to AAA to remain a starter. He keeps starting and is ready should Hughes or another starter fall flat.

      • Jimmy says:

        Please, it’s the same story every year. “Winning”.

        Winning isn’t only about the present.

        God, I hope CC opts out. Then they’re really screwed. They’ll pay through the nose to keep him, as they should, and with nothing in the rotation behind him for October.

  9. Saint Brian says:

    Keeping starting pitching depth is the key and this is the right move.


    Nova is ready to go the next time a starter hits the DL.

  10. infernoscurse says:

    the right move is package nova while his stock is high

  11. bonestock94 says:

    He’s rough around the edges, let him get better in AAA.

  12. Jimmy says:

    Wow, you’re a pussyCAT. Hughes sucks and this organization is now depending on Colon, Garcia, Gordon, and Mitre and you’re calling it the “right move”.

    How far this place has fallen from actual analysis. Not surprisingly, it began when YES signed up.


  13. Rainbow Connection says:

    I don’t care either way, but last night on YES they said over and over and over again that the Yankees said Nova would not be moved to the bullpen or AAA. Weird.

  14. Another Bronx Dynasty says:

    Have to agree with infernoscurse. Imagine what we could have gotten if we packaged Hughes during the All-Star break as a rookie All-Star prior to losing velocity???

    Same goes for Joba after rookie season when he was a Super Hero coming out of the pen.

    While were at it I say lets trade Cashman & a Brinks truck full of Steinbrenner dollars for Dave Dombrowski. He knows talent & how when to trade players.

  15. UptovvN says:

    I Agree that we should keep Ivan in the rotation. It’s not a bad idea though, to send him down to sharpen up some of his stuff. We all kno that Colon, Garcia or Hughes is bound to get injured. That’s when Cashman will pull the last trick he has in AAA. I V A N

  16. kstud says:

    I don’t think Phil Hughes has done enough that he’s entitled a spot in the rotation at the expense of Nova. If he stinks up the joint like 2008, like in the second half of 2010, and like the start of this year, he needs to be sent to the pen and not shown unwavering patience and benefit of the doubt.

  17. Cuso says:

    I was opposed to the Nova to AAA move initially. But the theory of him going down to keep making his start every 5th day while actually getting a chance to perfect his swing-and-miss stuff is actually growing on me. He may go to Scranton a #5 starter and come back in 2012 as a 25 y/o viable #3.

    Plus, if he remains stretched out, he’s the first one up if a starter goes down.

    I’d prefer keeping him stretched out than sticking him in the Joba, er, bullpen.

    • nycsportzfan says:

      I’d go NOVA over Garcia… You know Garcia is pitching above where hes been in awhile, and hes doing it while throwing like 86mph, at least NOVA is getting better and better, and who knows where he tops out at, your not dealing with a guy just pitching over his head, hes getting better…

  18. Alfredo says:

    send nova down because hughes is a 18 game winner and he does deserve the benefit of the doudt.

  19. BigLoving says:

    At first I thought it was crazy sending Nova down. But the more I think about it the more I like it. He has been up and down like every young pitcher is with talent. But right now you are sending him down with his head held high instead of his tail in between his legs. Nova can now work on his secondary stuff (change, slider) without having to worry about his mistakes being hit 500 feet at the major league level. He needs those pitches to be effective in order to make it as a big league pitcher.

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