Sorting out the Yankees starting pitching needs

Curtis Granderson and left-handed pitchers
Mistrial declared in Clemens perjury case

Contrary to what we thought and saw earlier in the season, the Yankees pitching staff has held its own in the first half. Even with an injury to one of the expected starters they’ve pulled through and currently have one of the better staffs in the league. Here’s a quick breakdown of how the starters as a unit stand among their peers.

(Just to be clear, the last two are innings pitched per game by the starter, and WAR per 81 games. I did these because the Yankees have played fewer games than most other teams due to rain outs.)

These might not be standout numbers, but they’re very good nonetheless. Most surprising is the high innings pitch per games started. At the start of the season, even after the first turn through, it seemed that Girardi wielded a hasty hook at six innings. But lately he’s been more hands off, and it has allowed the starters to go deeper into games. Since I’m fond of the adage that the best bullpen consists of a strong starting staff, this comes as a pleasant development. But what has worked in the first half might not work as well in the second. Let’s take a look at one primary, and probably unchanging, reason why the staff has succeeded, and then look at ways they can continue their success in the second half.

Pitching + Fielding = Defense

The recent rise of, and interest in, defensive statistics comes from our understanding that the pitcher does not control everything that happens when a team is on defense. A defense consists of the pitcher and the fielders behind him, and those fielders can make a huge difference in how many runs a team prevents. By most measures the Yankees defense has performed superbly behind its pitchers this year. UZR actually ranks them the best at 7.5 UZR/150. This comes mostly from the outfield, which dominates with 21.9 UZR and 13.6 UZR/150, both well ahead of the rest of the league. The Yankees also rate well in turning batted balls into outs. They rank ninth in the league in defensive efficiency.

Defense, like hitting, can go into streaks and slumps, so we don’t know yet if the Yankees were abnormally good in the first half. But it does appear that they are solid fielders. A-Rod appears rejuvenated at third base, and while he’ll miss a month Eduardo Nunez, if he can throw the ball, will be an adequate replacement. Nick Swisher, the weakest link among the outfielders, has shown a deftness absent from his game in 2009 and 2010. Russell Martin continues to wow behind the plate, and there is always Robinson Cano, who, by the eye tests as well as the stats, had a below expectations first half. If the Yankees can maintain their solid fielding, they will make life a lot easier for the pitching staff. That helps solve problems right off the bat.

How far can the current staff go?

Few, if any, people thought Freddy Garcia would still be on the roster today, never mind have the second lowest ERA among starters. Bartolo Colon furthers our surprise with every outing. Even A.J. Burnett has been pleasant to watch, at least compared to 2010. Yet even though the staff has experienced much success in the first half, it’s hard to shed the feeling that they’re due for regression in the second half. Maybe Garcia and Colon cruised through the first half, but what are the chances they continue that?

The Yankees have options, both internal and external, to help shore up the staff. It might not appear necessary right at this moment, but as we’ve seen so many times, what they have now is not necessarily what they’ll have in August, never mind October. In 2009 they had four strong starters at this point, but then Joba Chamberlain fell apart. Last year people suggested that since the Yankees had five quality starters that they did not need Cliff Lee. Yet by August Javier Vazquez had declined significantly, while Phil Hughes struggled, Andy Pettitte got hurt, and A.J. Burnett continued his plod through the season. The Yankees would be fools to nix a deal because they think Garcia and Colon will hold up for the next three and a half months.

Internal options

The Yankees do have a number of arms they can call on, but none of them provides any semblance of security. Ivan Nova will be the first called up, but he had his ups and downs in the first half. He can capably fill the back end of the rotation, but the Yankees can’t expect much more from him. Beyond that they have Hector Noesi, who, like Phil Hughes before him, appears bound to the bullpen for the season. You can add in Adam Warren to that list, since they’re similar pitchers in terms of ceiling. David Phelps is another option, though he’s a bit less exciting then even the other three. Chances are the Yankees won’t need to look any deeper than these four if they seek internal help.

The problem is that these are all guys who would fill the four and five spots in the rotation, if they were to succeed at all. But if something happens with Garcia or Colon, the Yankees will need more than that. They’ve both pitched like No. 2 or No. 3 starters so far, at least in terms of results. If one or both of them declines in performance in the second half, the Yankees will be in a bind. They can replace from within, but then they risk having an ace followed by a bunch of four and five starters (since we can’t expect much more from Hughes). The internal options just won’t give the Yankees anywhere near the performance they realized earlier in the year from Garcia and Colon.

There are higher end arms in AA, but it’s clear that the Yankees don’t plan to bring them up. As Mark Newman said, they’re in AA because the team can control their workload. They’re still both working on their first full, 140-inning seasons, and so likely will remain in the minors all season. It might be upsetting to see these high ceiling guys in the minors when the majors could use help, but they’re still young and developing, each entering the season with roughly 200 innings of professional experience. They’ll be up in due time, but it appears that they’ll finish out the year at AA.

Trade options

Here’s where things get tricky. We’ve looked at tons of starting pitchers that the Yankees could target in the next few weeks, but that does not mean they will become available. But there certainly will be something available, and likely something that the Yankees can viably use in the No. 2 or No. 3 spot. Whether that’s a potential ace, such as Ubaldo Jimenez, or a 2/3 type such as Ryan Dempster or Hiroki Kuroda (or a mystery pitcher I’ll be writing up shortly after the break). Make no mistake, though: the search for a top of the rotation starter will loom large in the coming weeks.

If the Yankees want to finish the season strong and enter October with a formidable staff, I’d consider the trade route a necessity. I’m all for giving the youngsters a shot, but given the Yankees needs they’d be simply seeking lightning in a bottle. That doesn’t always happen. None of the four prospects mentioned above has a ceiling above that of a No. 4, or maybe a No. 3 at absolute best. But the Yankees need something better. Not only that, they need someone proven. That means trading for a higher end starter. That will necessarily hurt, as proven No. 2 starters don’t come cheap. It could mean the loss of Betances, Banuelos, or Jesus Montero. But unless the Yankees want to continue pressing their luck and going with Sabathia and a group of unknowns and unreliables, they’ll have to look outside the organization for help.

Such is the balance of winning now and winning in the future. If the Yankees were trailing the Red Sox significantly and were battling for the Wild Card, they might not be able to justify sending top prospects in hopes that another starter could boost their chances. But with only a game separating them from the Red Sox, and with a five game lead on the Wild Card, they owe it to the organization and fans to go for it. We might not like the cost, but it’s all part of the game the Yankees play.

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Curtis Granderson and left-handed pitchers
Mistrial declared in Clemens perjury case
  • David, Jr.

    Very interesting. A mystery pitcher?

    “But with only a game separating them from the Red Sox, and with a five game lead on the Wild Card, they owe it to the organization and fans to go for it. We might not like the cost, but it’s all part of the game the Yankees play.” And with prime age superstars on the team. And with ample assets to trade, stacked at two positions so it won’t hurt as much.

    Something is going to happen.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      Hint: The Phillies are IN.

      • David, Jr.

        Need another hint, please.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          It’s bigger than a breadbox.

          • David, Jr.

            Roger Clemons!! Mistrial today. Dumbass bullshit should be dropped. Looks in great shape.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              I’ll have procurement order some fresh cases of testicle-liniment, stat.

            • David, Jr.

              Clemens. Whiffed the spelling. Too excited by mistrial.

    • Ted Nelson

      The Yankees always have “prime age superstars” on their team… I don’t think it’s at all accurate to suggest they’re going to act irrationally because “their window is closing.” For the past decade and a half their window has been “always” and there isn’t much reason to think that will change anytime soon. They might make a trade, but I don’t think the age of their players will have much of anything to do with it.

      • David, Jr.

        Not looking for them to act irrationally. It isn’t that the window is closing, although perhaps it is for Jeter, Mo and Posada. It is just that they are a strong but slightly flawed contender that could use somebody that would make the short series pitching match ups against Boston and Philly look more in our favor.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, I can totally see them making a trade and your rationale… I just felt like between the article and your comment there was a lot of emphasis on “need” and not much on value.

          It’s not an easy situation: trading for a marginal improvement, who gets bumped from the rotation? Is a major improvement worth the price?

          The Yankees may or may not have balked at the asking prices for Greinke, Lee, Haren, etc. in the recent past, so I’m not sure if they’d change their minds or get a better value for a Ubaldo (young and dirt cheap on a team that wanted to contend this season) or whoever else is a legit stud available. Certainly possible, I just question if it’s going to happen.

          I guess I can see the names Joe throws out there like Dempster and Kuroda more than anything in what’s largely a salary dump with a lower prospect cost…

          • David, Jr.

            I see it as a position of strength. Don’t do anything and still make the playoffs. Maybe make a real improvement, while still retaining a strong farm system.

            What about Matt Garza? He has certainly had his moments, and the Cubs are sailing along at 37 and 55.

            • Ted Nelson

              Definitely an interesting name, especially since the split between his FIP and ERA is so high. Cubs look like a pretty bad fielding team, so maybe he’s a buy low candidate. I would assume by now all MLB clubs are up on advanced stats… but who knows?

              I would just see them as more likely to deal Dempster or certainly Zambrano, since Garza is only 27 and they just got him (for 2 top 100 prospects plus) so he might be more a part of their future.

              • David, Jr.

                Z is two more years at 19M. Not sure they could give him away.

                Dempster is not enough of an upgrade for me, plus seems very overpaid at 13.5M in 2011 plus a 14.5M option of his for 2012.

                I’m sure that they would love to trade either of them.

                Garza is young as you say, and might be worth a shot. Good in AL East at times, plus decent in the post season. The Cubs don’t need a catcher, so that isn’t a match. Maybe Betances and Nova?

                • Ted Nelson

                  “I’m sure that they would love to trade either of them.”

                  Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.

                  “Garza is young as you say, and might be worth a shot. Good in AL East at times, plus decent in the post season. The Cubs don’t need a catcher, so that isn’t a match. Maybe Betances and Nova?”

                  I don’t think I would trade Betances for Garza. His ERA (4.26) is much more in-line with his career performance than his FIP. I guess part of it would depend on the scouting… whether they think he’s really improved this season and is merely getting unlucky on the BABIP, or if he’s just getting lucky with the Ks and lack of HRs because it’s the NL/small sample. He’s young enough that maybe he’s improving… but his fWARs in Tampa were 2.9, 3.2, and 1.8. I sort of think the Cubs overpaid for him. He can definitely be a #2, but more ideally might be a #3 or even #4 on a strong staff. Not sure I give up Betances’ upside for that, though of course it depends how likely you think he is to reach something close to that upside… not a bad trade to get a 3-4 fWAR guy who is only like 4 years older for Betances. Tough call.

  • Cuso

    Man, I’d love it if we could get the same IP/start in the second half. Unfortunately, that’s not realistic.

    Even with CC being his dominant second half self and skewing the number upward, 4/5 of the rotation will pull it the other way.

    Look no further than last year as a barometer.

    Pettitte & Hughes’ first halfs had vision of sugar-plums and 110-win seasons dancing in our heads. Pettitte’s injury and Hughes’ exposure put the kibosh on that.

    If we can get 6IP/per on average for the entire second half, I’d take it in a heartbeat.

    • Cuso

      “halves”

      sorry, I just graduated second grade

    • Rick in Boston

      6 IP/start will hopefully get it done, especially if Soriano can come back healthy.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    A defense consists of the pitcher and the fielders behind him, and those fielders can make a huge difference in how many runs a team prevents.

    Don’t I know it.

    Sincerely,
    Zack Grienke

    • ItsATarp

      5 ERA while striking out 12 per 9 and walking below 2 is just unthinkable. If i was Greinke, i’d be depressed too seeing as how bad the Brewers defense must be during his games.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        His E-F is 2.45. Nobody in the majors has pitched as many innings as Greinke with a bigger disparity between ERA and FIP.

        He’s gotta be wondering what he did in a previous life to be cursed by Yuniesky Betancourt on two different clubs. Like, really? THIS is the other Royal you had to trade to Milwaukee with me? The worst everyday player in baseball?

        • jsbrendog

          i laughed.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Last year people suggested that since the Yankees had five quality starters that they did not need to part with years and years of super-prospect Jesus Montero and several other very worthwhile assets and all the value they would collectively add to the next decade-plus of pinstriped pennant chases just for a three-month rental of a very, very good Cliff Lee for one single solitary season, particularly when Cliff Lee would be available for nothing but cash that following offseason and could theoretically be acquired while the rest of Jesus Montero’s career in pinstripes was retained.

    Fixed. Cost-benefit analysis, yo.

  • Jim S

    Peter Griffin: A boat’s a boat. But the mystery pitcher could be anything.
    It could even be a boat. You know how much we wanted one.

    • Josh S.

      IETC

  • Grit for Brains

    Erik Bedard would be really nice.

    • Jim S

      No thanks. A healthy Erik Bedard would be fantastic, but boy, talk about a glass arm.

      • MannyGeee

        Joba, Marte and Feliciano are looking for a 4th in their bridge game out in Tampa….

      • Rick in Boston

        For me, it depends on the price for Bedard. If the Yankees could swap a second and/or third tier prospect for him, then yeah, I’d do it.

        • Jim S

          My comment got eaten, and apparently because i fail at logic.

          I assumed he was making more than 1 million this year. For that price, sure I’d absolutely take him for a third tier prospect. Doubt the cost would be that low though.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Bedard making peanuts hurts us, it doesn’t help us. If he was costly, we could get him for nothing but salary relief and not give up prospects. Since he’s cheap, he’s more marketable to other teams (and the M’s are less motivated of a seller), widening his targets and driving his price up.

            I wouldn’t be shocked if the Pirates traded for Bedard. It would make a ton of sense for them, and making the playoffs would help that franchise tremendously.

            • Jim S

              Yeah I realized this below.

              But Rick In Boston pointed out the performance bonuses, so maybe there’s more to the story. Either way, I’m leaning towards no thanks.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          That. I’d like to add Bedard, but I’m not giving up anything of any real value for him (other that salary relief for the Mariners, if they’re interested) because, while effective, he has way, way too much washout potential.

          They can have Greg Golson, Jordan Parraz, or Jorge Vazquez.

          • Jim S

            Monteroisdinero would like a word with you.

            Assuming I’m reading COTS right, Bedard is only making 1 million this year. I imagine the Mariners would rather hold on to him for a run at the division at that price, unless we give them something above a golson.

            • Rick in Boston

              Base is $1 million with $6.35 million in “performance bonuses” which aren’t spelled out. I’m guessing he gets a nice check every time he reaches a start or IP milestone.

              • Jim S

                Quick ignorant question, where did you find that info? Legitimately curious.

                • Jim S

                  Never mind. *facepalm*

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Yeah, it’s intriguing, but I don’t see it happening. Bedard has too many red flags (not just the injuries, but also the reputation of not liking big markets) and he’s not the kind of acquisition Cashman likes, i.e. using financial largess to bully the other team into lowering the prospect cost.

              Not a good matchup.

            • Owen Two

              Bedard is only making 1 million this year.

              I wish I were that unlucky.

          • Rick in Boston

            I was going to top it out with Venditte’s right arm.

          • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

            Golson?! El Chato?! You’re crazy bro.

            • Rick in Boston

              Whatever happened to the guy claimed Vazquez would be the second coming of Babe Ruth?

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                El Destructor will be a star in the Majors.

                http://riveraveblues.com/2011/.....nt-2078266

                Hilarity.

                • jsbrendog

                  CHATO!!!!!

                  too bad the yankees don’t trust their prospects

                  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    Racist bastards.

                    Sincerely,
                    Whatever that guy’s name is this week

                    • Sweet Dick Willie

                      Well, technically, he didn’t call them racists. He said they were racist with regard to starting pitchers. But since Wang isn’t Anglo, I guess he meant they are just racist against black and latino starting pitchers, but since Nova and Noesi are latino, I guess he meant they are just racist against black starting pitchers, but since CC is black, I guess he meant…???

                      I couldn’t figure that guy out, but upon further reflection, I think the answer is he is he must be Timothy Leary’s kid (the Harvard professor, not the ex- Yankee and Met pitcher).

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, I agree that it depends on price. Given that he’s cheap, and his salary depends on his performance… I’m not sure how motivated a seller Seattle will be. He’s about as much a possibility as anyone decent I suppose.

    • mt

      That is my guess also (the frost between Mariners and Yanks based on last year’s Lee negotiations notwithstandsing) – lefthanded, possibly #2 stuff, coming off injury and a free agent (I think) so cost may be reasonable.

      Can we get hints on mystery pitcher?

      • mt

        Also Seattle would still have Hernandez, Pineda, Vargas (who has two or three shutouts) and Fister so it would not be as if they are decimating their starters – could also be pitched to Seattle fans that they are trying to get some offensive help. Not sure who Yanks would trade but obviously not Montero or Killer B’s – maybe Laird, a pitcher and one of AAA outfielders.

        Bedard injury risk is concern but I don’t want to trade for more #4 or #5 starters.

  • MannyGeee

    Mystery Pitcher = CJ Wilson? get him now and sign the extension under market value?

    better than the Kurodas and Dempsters of the world.

    i guess. sorta

    • mt

      There is no way Texas trades CJ Wilson to Yankees when they currebtly lead a very winnable (poor) division.

  • Tom

    Please use A.L. stats next time. Full MLB pitching stats are often deceiving. Comparing the Yankee staff to N.L. staffs that don’t typically face the DH is not as meaningful.

  • Cut your hair

    Nova was getting better as the season wore on. But it is very hard to see this organization trusting any prospect in August. They’d sooner re-sign Silva.

    • gc

      Gee, I wonder who this is!

    • jsbrendog

      oaktag.

    • Ted Nelson

      Yeah… this makes sense because they didn’t trust Nova in September last season. What? They did? Oh, never mind.

  • Cut your hair

    Excellent point, Tom.

  • Ted Nelson

    I’m not sure about the causation between better defensive metrics and understanding the importance of defense… for the most part I think people realized that defense was important but just couldn’t quantify it.

    “Few, if any, people thought Freddy Garcia would still be on the roster today”

    I think that’s patently false, and that anyone who took the time to look at his injury history and recent performance knew there was a good chance he would be adequate (not an ERA of 3… but on the roster). I can link to literally hundreds of threads over the winter where I made this point, and at points other people agreed. As I said at the time, it was willful ignorance to act like Garcia was awful or constantly injury-prone. He got hurt once, and performed adequately for 1.25 seasons once he finally made it back.

    “It could mean the loss of Betances, Banuelos, or Jesus Montero. But unless the Yankees want to continue pressing their luck and going with Sabathia and a group of unknowns and unreliables, they’ll have to look outside the organization for help.”

    If the value is there I can certainly see them doing something, but I don’t think they “have to” do anything. Giving up a top 5 prospect for Ryan Dempster, for example, is something I do not see them doing. He’s a marginal upgrade, 34 years old, not sure who they would even bump from the rotation for him, and the trade value would be awful (if it was a top 5 prospect). Sure they could trade one of their top prospects, but I think that should be qualified by pointing out that the Yankees rarely throw around truly elite prospects that are close to the majors and still have high stocks.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      Ted Nelson, you make me laugh sometimes. No offense. Maybe the world would be better if we spent exorbitant amounts of time, ink and vocabulary on relatively small points.

      • YanksFan

        While I agree Ted can write a novella from time to time, I think this post was right on. I was one of the guys that agreed about Garcia.

        • David, Jr.

          His post was right on. Freddie had lots of quality starts last year. He is merely doing it again. Nothing astonishing at all.

      • Ted Nelson

        Guess I’m a details person…

    • David, Jr.

      Giving up a top 5 for Dempster would be exactly what I wouldn’t want them to do. I’d feel just as confident with Colon, Burnett or Garcia starting a playoff game as I would with Dempster.

      They either need to stand as they are, or go after somebody that would make for a real upgrade, like a Jimenez, and even then only if it is a decent deal.

      It is not a bad position. A huge chance of making the playoffs with what we have, and lots of stacked excess at two important positions to possibly do something.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah. I can see how some people might think it’s stating the obvious, but I think value needs to be mentioned. If a team is motivated to sell off a Dempster at a relatively low prospect cost or if it’s a truly elite long-term solution like Jimenez might be… those are the situations where I can see the Yankees acting. Otherwise I can see them rolling with Nova, other internal options, and some scrap-head guys (who might become more plentiful after the deadline… maybe even pull off a post-deadline deal for an expensive guy who passes waivers if they really need help).

  • Dsymons

    I say we go all in for Jimenez , even if it cost Montero and Nova . We all know that the Yankees value Romine’s defensive abilities anyway moving forward . We trade for Jimenez and throw Hughes in the Bullpen and we are set . Most likely Garcia and Colon wont continue to pitch this way and i have a feeling Hughes wont recapture his first half form from last year.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      “…throw Hughes in the Bullpen…”

      [vomits]

    • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

      It’d cost more than that.

  • nsalem

    I like our starting rotation as presently constituted and believe we can go deep into the playoffs with it.
    Unless we are talking about acquiring a number 1 quality starter I think we should stand pat. Those who claim Colon and Garcia can’t mantain this pace are the same ones who believed they wouldn’t make the team in the first place. This is based on their opinions of age and their belief that people who can’t throw over 90 miles an hour will be losers on a major league level. I am amazed by those who complain about
    Colon and Garcia’s fragility and then suggest we should take a chance on Bedard. Sometimes the best move is no move at all.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      I still would not place a bet on one of Colon or Garcia making it until October.

      Every team (literally every team needs a SP. You can never have to many. It’s always been that way, and it always will be that way.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        But while every team needs one, it doesn’t mean every team should add one. Because the “should” is entirely dependent on the “could” and the cost of those coulds.

        We need another starting pitcher, yes. But if all the available pitchers either cost too much or aren’t good enough to be an upgrade (or cost too much relative to the amount of upgrade they would offer), perhaps we shouldn’t add one because it’s not a wise usage of resources.

        • Ted Nelson

          Agreed.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Last year people suggested that since the Yankees had five quality starters that they did not need Cliff Lee.

      And the 2010 first half staff kills the 2011 staff in nearly every way save for CC. Even if you think this is a great playoff rotation history showed us that even fucking last year that it’s not going to end up that way.

      I mean it’s in the post right above…

      • Ted Nelson

        What happened to the 2010 rotation is in no way whatsoever proof of what will happen to the 2011 rotation.

        The 2011 rotation certainly might fall apart, but the 2010 rotation has very, very little to do with it.

        The main way the 2010 first-half rotation killed the 2011 first-half rotation was in $.

        How about the occasional stat to back up your points?

        • JobaWockeeZ

          What happened to the 2010 rotation is in no way whatsoever proof of what will happen to the 2011 rotation.

          Well if I said that then you can tell me I’m wrong. I didn’t say the 2010 staff failed so the 2011 staff will fail. I didn’t say something like Carl Pavano failed so Ryan Dempster will fail. I’m saying that it fucking happened before and taking a rotation for granted is silly.

          Javier Vazquez first half: .225/.304/.410 with a 1.22 WHIP and a 2.11 SO/BB ratio.
          Ivan Nova first half: .269/.340/.398 with a 1.47 WHIP and a SO/BB ratio of 1.38
          2011 Phil Hughes has been bad, believe it or not. So bad that it would make Nova’s line worse in the battle of 5th starters. I’m too lazy though to show how much Hughes makes it worse though.

          2010 Phil Hughes: .239/.291/.377 with a 1.17 WHIP and a 3.14 K/BB ratio.
          2011 Bartolo Colon: .240/.286/.396 with a 1.14 WHIP and a 3.59 K/BB ratio.

          2010 AJ Burnett: .275/.357/.440 with a 1.47 WHIP and a 1.76 SO/BB ratio
          2011 AJ Burnett: .222/.306/.403 with a 1.24 WHIP and a 1.92 K/BB ratio

          2010 Andy Pettitte: .233/.294/.359 with a 1.14 WHIP and a 2.48 K/BB ratio
          2011 Freddy Garcia: .259/.314/.425 with a 1.27 WHIP and a 2.11 K/BB ratio.

          Hughes > Colon. Pettitte > Garcia. 2011 AJ >= 2010 AJ 2010. CC < 2011 CC.

          • Ted Nelson

            That’s exactly what you said: “history showed us that even fucking last year that it’s not going to end up that way.”
            History showed us that it’s not going to end up that way. Not that it might not end up that way… that it is not going to.

            How on earth do you look at those stats and still think 2010 was killing 2011?

  • tut

    MLB Rumors reporting Yankees signed JC Romero to minor league deal.

  • YanksFan

    While I would love to upgrade to a more proven starter I don’t know if that person is really available. Jiminez is the one name being thrown out there & I am hesitant about him, even before yesterday’s post.

    We know the ninja Cash is but I would be VERY suprised if they can get anyone.

    I believe Garcia can pitch to a 4 ERA the rest of the year, as well as AJ. That gives you 3 solid starters going into the playoffs IF Colon & Hughes breakdown. I can live w/ that when you factor in the NYY offense, defense & BP.

    Detroit has Verlander, Texas has Wilson & Boston has Lester. Who else on those staffs scare you? They could on any given day but they can all shit the bed on any given day.

    In the NL you’ve got the Phils & Giants w/ scary pitching but could they score enoough is the question. Let’s get there first.

  • nsalem

    anybody can get injured. The Red Sox have their two starters in their 20’s on the DL and I don’t know Beckett’s status. We currently have 5 healthy starters. If you count Nova we have 5 starters with an ERA+ of 99 or above. I don’t think the Yankee’s have had that in quite awhile. Presently I think the Phillies also do and maybe the Athletics. Unless a Gio or Kershaw type falls into our lap I would just leave it. I think upgrading our bullpen and bench is more important. If we can add a LOOGY and upgrade over Jones and possibly Cervelli (his defense scares me) I think we will be good to go for a good stretch run.

    • Ted Nelson

      I think you make some good points. If the value and/or large upgrade is there… sure. People who just want to trade for a starter, any starter would have to option Hughes to AAA or move a starter to the bullpen. Maybe that is the best option, but it’s worth hesitating and thinking about.

      I see why people don’t want to count on him (I don’t count on him), but if the Yankees are really satisfied with Hughes’ health and stuff… he really could be by far the most efficient upgrade. And Nova is a strong 6th starter to have for sure.

  • Stan the Man

    Ryan Dempster and Hiroki Kuroda are #2 and #3 starters in the Major Leagues? Pitching in the NL certainly helps their stats so I wouldn’t project that them that high just because. Nova or Noesi could easily be #2 or #3 type starters pitching in the NL West or Central.

    The Yanks do not need starting pitching at all since they have the capable arms in the farm system, Colon went on the DL and the Yanks managed through that part of their rotation just fine. They aren’t going to play the Red Sox 36 times in the 2nd half of the season.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Dempster’s 2011 xFIP: 3.43
      Kuroda’s 2011 xFIP: 3.66

      Yes both are legitimate number two starters, even in the AL.

      • nsalem

        and Wright and Pavano were legitimate number 2’s and 3’s the year before they became Yankees.

      • Stan the Man

        Well you got me there I guess xFIP is the only stat that matters these days.

        I actually like Kuroda but feel the #2/#3 starter title being bestowed upon him is a bit optimistic. He pitches in the NL West and has better but similar numbers to Dustin Moseley. Dempster is just terrible and bringing in his xFIP is just a ridciulous. A 5.01 ERA, less than 6 innings a start isn’t going to cut it as #2/#3 starter in the AL East, where he won’t pitch to an opposing pitcher 3x a game, thus inflating his K’s per 9.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          xFIP is league adjusted but please continue.

          • Ted Nelson

            It’s adjusted for how they are doing in their league, not how they would do under entirely different circumstances in the future… please *don’t* continue.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            It’s league adjusted and it’s been shown to be a much better predictor of future ERA than ERA or FIP or just about any other metric.

            Oh, and:

            Kuroda, 2011: 3.06/3.73/3.66 E/F/x, 2.77 K/BB, 6.37 IP/S
            Moseley, 2011: 3.21/3.93/4.14 E/F/x, 1.69 K/BB, 5.94 IP/S

            Kuroda and Moseley are not very “similar”, no.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Edwin Jackson please.

  • mt

    If Colon stays healthy, he can be our #2,

    Otherwise we are not on par with other rotations – yes, anyone can dominate on any given day, but I have more faith that a Scherzer, Beckett, Cliff Lee, Ogando or Haren (#2 starters for other playoff clubs – assuming Lester is the #1 even though Beckett is outpitching him this year) can dominate our lin-up for one day than Garcia/Burnett/Hughes/Nova can dominate the other line-up (i.e., whoever would be our #2 starter if Colon went down or was ineffective.)

    Because the starter can neutralize other advantages (like our offense and our bullpen) that is why we should go for a #2 starter if one is available at a reasonable cost.

    I see Bedard (admittedly with disadvantages like health) possibly in that role – not so much Edwin Jackson, Kuroda, and Dempster. Maybe Ubaldo Jimenez but he may be too costly in terms of prospects since he is a #1 I would imagine (at least coming into the season, he was).

    That is why missing on Haren was so big.

  • Mike HC

    I would only trade for a starter if it is a guy we are going to want to have around for at least 2-3 seasons, and possibly a guy we like even longer term than that. If it is just for a half a season upgrade of what we already have, no way would I want to give up our very top of the line prospects. Those prospects playing on the cheap is what allows the Yanks to pay Tex, CC, ARod, etc … loads of money into their deep 30’s and beyond. The staff Cashman put together this year is competitive.

    • Mike HC

      And of course, I still have faith in Hughes to become a legitimate playoff starter.

  • Carl

    Seems like the same topic is being recycled every week, since the off-season.

  • nycsportzfan

    Overwhelm the rockies, please! U guys don’t seem to understand, were not gonna get a chance to aquire a guy like Jimenez anytime soon.. Hes got a 2.52 and 50k’s over his last 8starts, and he just finished 3rd in the CY YOUNG balloting last yr, and is 24.. CC and Jimenez is a incredible 1/2 punch to have, and we aren’t using all our prospects anyways, being that we are big players in FA’cy..U can give them montero, and still have Romine, Jr Murphy and Gary Sanchez.. U can give them Nova and still have DJ Mitchell, Warren, Phelps, TUrley, Marshall, Stoneburner, Heredia, one of the killer B’s, Shaffer Hall, Cotham, jose ramirez and so on and so fourth, the point is, we got the prospects to make a deal and not be as burnt in the farm system as some may think…

    Montero
    Nova
    Betances
    Corban Joseph

    Do it!!!!!!